Monday, 29 December 2014

Living With The Truth

I've just finished a book called "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss. In it, there is a passage that describes so well how I feel now that I know the truth about my FOO.

"The War ended. Bit by bit, Litvinoff learned what had happened to his sister Miriam, and to his parents and to four of his other siblings (what had become of his oldest brother, Andre, he could only piece together from probabilities). He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it. It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom. To reach the armoire to get a pair of underpants he had to crawl under the truth, praying it wouldn't choose that moment to sit on his face. At night, when he closed his eyes, he felt it looming above him."

Though, unlike Litvinoff, I don't think I have learned yet how to live with this truth. Working on it...

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Still Life

Over these last few months I have been doing a lot of decorating/renovating work in the house. One thing that came to the surface, as I got on with this work, is how much I procrastinate when it comes to renovate things and how much resentment and irritation I feel over it. Thinking about it one day, I wondered where this came from, since - realistically speaking- renovating and replacing things that break is an unavoidable part of life. Why was it such an issue for me? When I dug a bit deeper, I realised that this was a learned behaviour, a flea from my FOO.  My parents never took any joy in doing anything in the house. Since they rent, their mentality was that there was no point in "making it nice just to leave it to the landlord", (which would make sense if they'd only been there a couple of years, but have now been living there for nearly 40 years.) As I thought about it further, it struck me how Ns are like a Still Life painting: they don't learn anything new, they don't grow or change, they remain exactly the same as they have always been. When I think of my relationship with them, it's the same. It has remained at the same point that it has always been (not better, not worse) since as far as I can remember, and that it's odd, because when I think of my relationship with my husband it is completely different: we have changed and we have grown together and though we still have things to work on as a couple, we are closer than we were when we started our relationship. And that's how it should have been with my FOO. But it's not, because they're like 'static beings', stuck in a loop of their own creation, where everything is always the same and remains the same. They keep the 'loop' constantly in motion so as to give the impression of 'moving', but the loop is like a merry-go-round: it moves fast, but doesn't go anywhere. 

They want their lives to look like a Still Life painting because that's what they live for: a "perfect" picture of themselves. Except that that only remains the same in the painting, the fruit the painter captured went on to rot eventually. In Spanish, the term for 'Still Life' is 'Dead Nature'. I wouldn't have put it better myself. 

Naturaleza muerta

Friday, 14 November 2014

"Thy truth, then, be thy dower."

        Yesterday afternoon I was watching a documentary about Shakespeare's play "King Lear". It's part of a series called "My Shakespeare", in which well-known actors explore some of his plays. As I started to listen to actor Christopher Plummer relate the story of King Lear, it struck me that I knew nothing about that particular play. Considering my passion for literature, how on earth did I make it to my forties without not even knowing the basic plot? I don't know how it has escaped me for so long... but I digress... 
         In the first scene, Plummer relates, King Lear tells his daughters he is going to divide the kingdom in three parts: "the portion each daughter will get depends on how eloquently they say they love him."

Tell me, my daughters,—
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,— 
Which of you shall we say doth love us most? 

Plummer continues: "King Lear is hoping to give the best portion to his youngest and favourite daughter, Cordelia. But he has miscalculated the family dynamics." The dialogue that followed blew me away, see if the dynamics look familiar to you too. 

Our eldest-born, speak first.

Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter; 
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty; 
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour; 
As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable; 
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

CORDELIA  [Aside.] 
What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. 

What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak. 

I am made of that same mettle as my sister, 
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love; 
Only she comes too short, that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys, 
Which the most precious square of sense possesses,
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear Highness' love. 

Now, our joy, 
Although our last and least, to whose young love 
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy 
Strive to be interess'd; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

Nothing, my lord.



Nothing will come of nothing, speak again. 

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth, I love your majesty
According to my duty, nor more nor less. 

How, how, Cordelia? mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.

Good my lord, 
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I 
Return those duties back as are right fit, 
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry 
Half my love with him, half my care and duty: 
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters, 
To love my father all.

But goes thy heart with this? 

 Ay, good my lord. 

So young, and so untender? 

So young, my lord, and true. 

Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower!

Cordelia's predicament is the predicament of every ACoN. She stands her ground and refuses to give flattery and adulation, even if it means losing everything, and that is the predicament that we find ourselves in too. When King Lear says: "Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower", I heard it as if King Lear was speaking to me directly and not to Cordelia. I understood the meaning as if it had been said to me too. And then it dawned on me that it has been said to me: it's the "unspoken" dialogue that takes place between Narcissistic parents and their child who refuses to worship them. The words are never uttered, but the message is transmitted, nonetheless, and it hangs loud and clear over the child. It's a form of meta-communication which every ACoN understands perfectly. 

Very well, then, if that's what it takes: "let my truth be my inheritance"

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Winter's Bone

             Last night I watched the film "Winter's Bone". Though it was painful and bleak, quite brutal even, I thought it was a very accurate allegory of the emotional life of ACoNs. I related so much to the 17 year old character "Ree", who has to look after her mentally ill mother and her two younger siblings, with her father gone and hardly any help from anyone around her. To her "having a family", even an extended family that in reality not only amounted to no family at all, but did damage to her as well. And isn't just that the emotional landscape that we ACoNs grow up with? With a mother who is not a mother, a father who is emotionally absent, and having to be the emotional "parent"to your siblings (and sometimes your parents as well) without any help, any guidance or any support. 

             What is so striking about the film is how all the adults in the film are not adults at all. Most of them are on drugs and unable to be "present" for her or to offer any assistance. All they can give is "scraps". She outshines them all in maturity, common sense and sensibleness. They have nothing to offer her (emotionally) because they are all in such a mess themselves and can't get out, let alone help her. You know how we all grew up hearing about how we should listen to "older ones" because of them having more experience on life? When I was in my late twenties/early thirties I felt that there was no one to go to for answers because they "older" ones seemed to be in a bigger mess (emotionally speaking) that I was, and how could they help me? One of them even said to me: "You're working things out in your thirties that we're only now working out (in our sixties)". When she said that, I thought: "What hope is there for me then, if the ones that are suppose to show me the way, haven't got a clue themselves?"

The adults being on drugs represented to me how all the adults in my FOO (including my extended FOO) were "hooked" on Narcissistic Supply. TR has a brilliant post about how NS is a form of drug addiction (see ) The kids (I'm including cousins here) don't get a look in because all the attention is going in the direction of the adults. Because of this, the cousins don't develop close connections among themselves either. 

Though the film is very raw and certainly not for the faint hearted, I found Ree's character inspiring: her tenacity and determination to push past all the obstacles she faces, and on her own strength; her self-respect in how she refuses to lower herself to their level; her dignity in how she says to her little brother: “Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered.”  

I don't know if the film depiction of the people who live in the Ozarks was accurate or not, but as a depiction of the struggles of a teenager to survive among adults who don't know what they're doing, is spot on. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Dark Humour

On Monday eve I learned of a new "batch" of accusations coming from BiL. When I looked at these accusations closely (without JADEing) I realised that -unwittingly- he had given away that when it comes to a particular feud we've been having over the last 4 years, it is Game Over, and he has lost. 

On Tuesday morning, I was telling a friend about the situation and after I put the phone down, a phrase "popped" in my head: "I will dance Flamenco upon your grave". This phrase came out of nowhere. I was puzzled by it, but I faintly remembered this "I will dance upon your grave" being a song. So I googled it, and sure enough, there it was: on good old faithful You Tube. When I saw it, it all came back to me. This was a song from a Spanish Ska Punk band from the 80s that some of my friends were into. When I listened to the lyrics, I thought: "What do you know, it turns out that my brain does dark humour and I didn't even know it". Because the words of the song are very dark indeed, even if the music is peppy. When this song came out I would have been around 15/16 years old and the meaning of it would have been way over my head. You listened to songs and sung them out loud without giving hardly any thought to whatever it meant, or why it was written. However it looks like the person who uploaded the song to You Tube got what it was about, because he put the following dedication with it:

"With love and from the heart to all those who try (UNSUCCESSFULLY) to make our everyday life misery... ;) " 

He obviously has dark humour too ;). Fascinating how the brain works, for to bring up a song that I had not listened to for more than twenty years and that was not even from one of the bands that I liked, it's amazing.

As I went to bed, something about this song kept bugging me, because though being written in a tongue-and-cheek way, it is pretty awful. The lyrics go something like (it doesn't make a lot sense in English, but bear in mind that in the original song all the endings rhyme) :

"I will kill you with my tap dance shoes,
I will choke you with my ballet dress,
I will hung you with my dinner jacket, 
and you will die while the DJ laughs, 
and I will dance upon your grave.

I will slaughter you with a sharp vinyl record,
A Rolling Stones one or maybe the Shadows',
You will choke with a collection of cassette tapes, 
the Shangril-las one or the Ronettes, 
and I will dance upon your grave".

It bothered me because I don't really feel that way about my BiL. As I was falling asleep, I had a lightbulb moment: my feelings about the song aren't about how I feel about BiL and my sister, it's about my "killing" their "power" to upset me. AH! That made so much more sense, and if you re-read the song, as if it was talking about killing the power/control/influence someone has or had over you, it sounds completely different.

So yes, their "power" to disturb my peace is dead, and I WILL dance upon its grave. :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Is Not About The Nail

Sometime last year, DH sent me a video called: "It's not about the nail" which shows a woman complaining to her husband that all her sweaters are getting ruined when she puts them on. The husband can see that she has a nail on her forehead and that is the cause of her problem, but he's not "allowed" to tell her because he's meant (I guess) to be sitting there listening empathetically rather than offering solutions. (I can't say that I relate much to that way of thinking because I am the sort of person that if I am talking about a problem I want SOLUTIONS. I don't want the: "Oh dear, there..there..." -which by the way, my MiL used to do whenever I shared a problem with her and always left me frustrated. I don't share my quandaries with her anymore.

Anyway, the other day I was thinking about the way Ns throw flimsy accusations at you as if you had committed the worse crime in the history of mankind (i.e. "mom gave you a package for me and you didn't deliver for six months!!!!"), and you stand there perplexed, wondering why even when you explain that "it wasn't six months, it was a month and I couldn't deliver it earlier because all the roads being snowed under", it does nothing to abate their anger. And that's when I had the lightbulb moment that when it comes to Ns: it's never about the nail. Or, in other words, it's never about what they say it is, because if it was, it would be resolved the second you explain it to them, like it does with normal people. See, in reality, they're not bringing up the accusation to get an explanation, they're just looking for stuff to "throw" at you, so they can "make" you look like the bad guy while making themselves look like the "victim". 

One of the most classic examples of this is the well-known story of Satan accusing Job of only serving God for what he got out of it. After it gets proved beyond any doubt that Job was serving God genuinely, there is absolutely no acknowledgement on Satan's part that he was wrong about Job. And isn't this exactly the same that Ns do, when they're confronted unequivocally with their accusation being wrong/mistaken or inaccurate? There is never ANY acknowledgement on their part that they were wrong. 

So next time we're thrown a wild accusation by a Narc, let's remember that is not about the accusation, and let's focus on how to protect ourselves and get out of their presence as quickly as possible.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Parade's End

Ever since I learned about Narcissism, I have really struggled to see the difference between selfish and narcissistic. Maybe it's because all the selfish people in my every day life are also narcissistic. However, last week I watched the period drama "Parade's End" and I understood. In the story, there is a character, Sylvia Tietjens, who is selfish, manipulative and cruel, but as far as I could see, a narcissist she is not. There is something brutally honest about the way she doesn't even try to pretend she is anything she's not, and as awful as she is, at least, she's not deceiving herself. I can see that there is hope that someone like that would change, (not that they necessarily would - and indeed, in the story she does not) but a person who does not even admit that they're living for an "image" of themselves that doesn't exist, how can they possibly change?  

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Fight To The Death

After refusing to go along with my mother's request command last night, I found this article, completely by fluke. It fits the situation I found myself in very well. Although the writer's focus is on romantic relationships, the principle applies equally to other types of relationships: 

When someone's imposing something upon you, they're trying to remove your choice (and overstepping your boundaries)

She makes the point that: 

"Imposers dress up their boundary busting behaviour and demands as 'requests'. Just say no and then you'll see that they were never asking..."

Yes, that's exactly it: "they were never asking". It was a command, albeit a 'disguised' one. Saying no is like challenging Darth Vader to a fight to the death, because then comes the change of tone, the anger and the sulking. And their sending you the non-verbal message that AT ALL. I'm starting to suspect that these 'requests' are not just about getting NS but also an exercise of their power. It's a power struggle. So every now and then they come up with something they want you to do just to see if you'll do it and reassure themselves that they still have the 'upper hand' (i.e. power/control over us). Because if this was simply a suggestion or a request, there would be no issue when we say no, but that is never the case, is it?

I feel like I'm back 5 years ago, at the time when I had started to say no to my sister, and now I'm about to go through the same process with my mother all over again. I wonder what will be revealed if I continue to refuse her suggestions orders. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Attention Deficit

I was thinking today how the issue with Narcissists is not so much that they want attention; after all, we all need a healthy amount of attention, but that they want all the attention for themselves. In a normal relationship, people give each other attention. You listen to them, and when they're done, they'll say: "What about you?" With Narcissists this just doesn't happen. It's all about them. And even if they ask you how you are, within ten seconds they'll either interrupt you, or have that blank, switched off look that tells you that they're not really listening, or, in the most unhinged cases, they'll walk away while you're still talking and start talking to someone else. (BiL2 did that once; I was talking to a friend and he interrupted to ask me how I was -after having had flu- and while I was still talking, another person (Mr. Ego's wife) approached us, he started talking to her and actually moved a few steps to the left, leaving a big gap between us and them. My friend and I looked at each other as if saying: "Ok, that was that :P " and carried on with the conversation we were originally having. I did make a mental note to not ever allow myself to be in that position again. - i.e. if asked a question by him to just reply with a one word answer and then take leave ;)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Like a Bad Penny...

Narcissists that you have left behind seem to have this ability to turn up randomly like a bad penny. Just when you think you have heard the last from them, they "pop up" again. When the other day my friend texted me that El Zorro had contacted her again, I couldn't believe it. They just don't give up, do they?
Still, there is something to be learned from the interaction that took place between him and my friend, so I'll share it with you:

El Zorro (to my friend):

" hey girl, I need some info"

My friend doesn't reply.

Half hour later, he texts: "How are you? btw"

Then: "don't play hard to get, please"

An hour later, my friend replies: "Hello Diego, everything ok?"

He responds: "Hi, look, can you give me the info of the house we stayed in last summer?"

My friend replies: "Of course, I'll look it up for you and I'll send you the details." (As you might have guessed, she had no intention of giving him those details. She's being sarcastic.)

Three days later he calls my friend and leaves a message in her answering machine, he also texts her three more times. She replies: "Im sorry. I'm out of town and won't be able to help you with the info on the house". He replies: "You could at least tell me the name, that's not too much too ask." To which she doesn't reply.

The next day, she gets a text from El Zorro's "armour bearer". Of course, no self-respecting Narc gives up a fight without at least sending one "flying monkey":
"Hello, how's things? I guess you'll be thinking we're using you and there's surely a bit of truth in that, but it's also true that I was looking forward, if you were in town in August, to meet up for a drink (that I owe you), it's because of this that Diego speaks so highly of the house and I was looking forward to take my little ones there, so we wanted to get the details on the house if it's possible. I'm sorry if I have inconvenienced you. Thanks. Hugs."

My friend couldn't make much sense of this text and was confused. If the house was for the "friend", how come Diego was the one asking for the info first? (Both guys know my friend the same and they both have her phone number). Bless... she didn't know about "Flying Monkeys". I explain to her that if the house was for the friend, he would have been the one to ask first. The reason why he was asking now is because Diego hadn't got what he wanted so he sent his FM to do the work for him. The whole texts reeks of FM work. Like, notice the way he tries to appeal to her "tender feelings" by casually dropping in that he wants to bring his "little ones" (which are not so little, in case you're wondering, more like teenagers).

My friend sends the following reply:
"Hi Leo, yes, I'm quite surprised by your message. Still, it is consistent with your style. I'm sorry I won't be able to help with the house details. Take care."

To what he replies: "Hi, look, I really don't know when I tried to take advantage of you, but it doesn't matter. Take care, unless it was the fact that I was happy and laughing when we saw each other last, which I hope was not offensive to you. In any case, if it was that way, I am really sorry".

My friend did not reply to that (and I believe she has now blocked their access to her phone). It's amazing how easy it is to spot the manipulation once you know how Narcissists operate. My friend was rather confused by the interaction and believed that the guys were just being oblivious to their own self-centeredness. I explained to her that they knew exactly what they were doing, but that they didn't care what she thought of them as long as they got what they wanted. 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Notes on Jane Eyre

While I was away, I took the book "Jane Eyre" with me. Re-reading under the "lens" of what I now know on Narcissism was like reading a different book completely. I cried throughout the first few chapters because the feelings of Jane echoed so much of how I used to feel in my dealings with my FOO. 

"All John Reed's violent tyrannies, all his sisters' proud indifference, all his mother's aversion, all the servants' partiality, turned up in my disturbed mind like a dark deposit in a turbid well. Why was I always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused, for ever condemned? Why could I never please? Why was it useless to try to win any one's favour? Eliza, who was headstrong and selfish, was respected. Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a very acrid spite, a captious and insolent carriage, was universally indulged. Her beauty, her pink cheeks and golden curls, seemed to give delight to all who looked at her, and to purchase indemnity for every fault. John no one thwarted, much less punished; though he twisted the necks of the pigeons, killed the little pea-chicks, set the dogs at the sheep, stripped the hothouse vines of their fruit, and broke the buds off the choicest plants in the conservatory: he called his mother "old girl," too; sometimes reviled her for her dark skin, similar to his own; bluntly disregarded her wishes; not unfrequently tore and spoiled her silk attire; and he was still "her own darling." I dared commit no fault: I strove to fulfil every duty; and I was termed naughty and tiresome, sullen and sneaking, from morning to noon, and from noon to night.
My head still ached and bled with the blow and fall I had received: no one had reproved John for wantonly striking me; and because I had turned against him to avert farther irrational violence, I was loaded with general opprobrium.
"Unjust!--unjust!" said my reason, forced by the agonising stimulus into precocious though transitory power: and Resolve, equally wrought up, instigated some strange expedient to achieve escape from insupportable oppression--as running away, or, if that could not be effected, never eating or drinking more, and letting myself die.
What a consternation of soul was mine that dreary afternoon! How all my brain was in tumult, and all my heart in insurrection! Yet in what darkness, what dense ignorance, was the mental battle fought! I could not answer the ceaseless inward question--WHY I thus suffered; now, at the distance of--I will not say how many years, I see it clearly.
I was a discord in Gateshead Hall: I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed or her children, or her chosen vassalage. If they did not love me, in fact, as little did I love them. They were not bound to regard with affection a thing that could not sympathise with one amongst them; a heterogeneous thing, opposed to them in temperament, in capacity, in propensities; a useless thing, incapable of serving their interest, or adding to their pleasure; a noxious thing, cherishing the germs of indignation at their treatment, of contempt of their judgment. I know that had I been a sanguine, brilliant, careless, exacting, handsome, romping child--though equally dependent and friendless--Mrs. Reed would have endured my presence more complacently; her children would have entertained for me more of the cordiality of fellow-feeling; the servants would have been less prone to make me the scapegoat of the nursery."

Saturday, 24 May 2014


“It takes endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” Marianne Williamson

* I tried to find the credits for the illustration but failed. If you know who the artist is, let me know.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Careless People

         I watched "The Great Gatsby" the weekend before last. Not the new version, but the old one with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford. I had seen it once before, when I was in my teens, and I remembered something of the story, but not much: that Gatsby was a rich man that threw extravagant parties, and that there was a car accident where the girl was driving. I had also read the book in my twenties, but didn't remember much from it either. (Apart of the quote at the beginning: "whenever you feel like criticising someone...")
        However, watching it now, with everything I know about Narcissism, was like looking at the story under an entirely new angle.  The whole story is about Narcissistic people who are so self-absorbed, they fail to see the reality about those around them. 
        The conversation between the owner of the petrol station and the neighbour who is "trying" to console him, is a classic dialogue of two people not "hearing" each other. There are many other examples throughout the film. 
        There seems to be a lot division of opinion over whether "The Great Gatsby" is a good book or not, and from what I read, (after I watched the film and deciding to do a bit of research,) a lot of people don't like the story because they don't like the characters. As I read their comments, I thought: "But that's the whole point: you're not meant to like them". This story, whether F. Scott Fitzgerald meant it as such or not, is a cautionary tale. It should come with the following warning on the front of the book (or the film, for that matter):

"This is a story about careless people who "smash up things and creatures and then retreat back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it is that keeps them together, and let other people clean up the mess they make.” You will encounter people like this too, so pay attention, and when you do encounter them, don't let them come into your life." 

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Sixth Floor

 Last night I was watching a French film (The Women on the 6th floor) and one of the characters says the following: 

( The film is about a Parisian couple who hire a Spanish maid and thus, come into contact with all the Spanish maids who live in the 6th floor of their building. Seeing how these Spanish maids approach life, changes the French couple's outlook on life) 

"Those women on the 6th floor are alive. We are dead. We need to find our 6th floor."

Talk about serendipity happening again... ;)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Walking Dead, the Walking Wounded and the Living

The phone conversation I had with my aunts on my last visit to my parents, made me wonder about how on earth they can carry on, repeating the same words -just like the Tolstoy character mentioned in my previous post- year after year, and not feel bored to death of it. You must be pretty "switched off" to be able to live like that. I remember that when I came off the phone after talking to one of them, I thought: "Wow, she's just like a zombie." A "walking dead" going through life as if through a set of pointless motions, doing the same things over and over, saying the same things over and over... and I'm not saying that having a routine is a bad thing, but that they way these people approach life is completely devoid of meaning or/and connection. People like that make me feel just like Tolstoy describes the "aunt's victims" felt: "her victims made their escape with a sense of relief at having performed a tiresome duty, and took care not to go near her again for the rest of the evening."

It makes one want to run away from them. 

When I was a teenager, I watched a horror-comedy film about a vampire hunter professor set in the 19th Century. I don't remember much about the story, but there's one scene that is etched in my mind like a photography still. In this scene, the professor, his attendant and the tavern keeper's daughter are dancing in ball at the castle. It's one of those balls where people go around the room in rows. In one of the walls of this ballroom there's a huge mirror. When the three characters find themselves in front of the mirror they realise they can only see their own reflection, which means everybody else around them is a vampire. I remember the sheer horror of thinking: "Oh no! they are ALL dead" and that feeling, is very much the feeling that I got after speaking to my aunts. Like I was talking to a "figure" but there was no life inside it.
The vampire analogy is very fitting, because you always feel drained of energy after spending time with these types. Since they have no "life" in themselves, they must get it from other sources. That's why they're always so obsessed with what other people are doing or wearing or eating.  Since they unable to create their own stuff, they feed on that of others. 
The "walking wounded" are a bit more tricky. Some are ok and some are 50/50. Meaning, that they might suck your energy at times but not always. I have a friend that is like that. I appreciate that she lets me be who I am and tell the truth about my FOO. She is also from a dysfunctional family. I used to think we were talking about similar struggles, and I would share everything I've learned about how to cope with dysfunctional FOOs. However, over time, I noticed a big difference between her and me: she never tried to apply the things I had shared with her. She would complain about her mother and her siblings but would still go back for more every time. I couldn't understand why she was doing this, until one day she was showed me a piece of expensive jewellery her mother had bought her. "Ah, there's always an explanation..." I thought "there's a pay off to what she puts up with". It makes you look differently at people when you see that they're happy to "take the payment", and that their complaining is not about resolution but about bitching. I guess it's hard to tell when you don't know someone very well, because both look like a "complaint"; it's only with what they do afterwards that you know which one the person is about. A bit like those girls who would bitch about their boyfriends endlessly, only to go back to them every time. That's been a big lesson for me: I'd assumed that because when I talk about a problem I want a solution, everybody else does too. But that couldn't be further from the truth. A lot of people complain to let off steam, or to feel superior than the person they're complaining about.  I guess we can all be guilty of that every now and then. So I try to let people (and myself) off the hook.  For me, the issue here is the "stuckness". When they start to sound like a "scratched record" every time. My mother is like that. She would tell me the same complaint year after year as if she was reciting a poem from memory. It was like a recording in her head. Just press play and the words would come out in exactly the same order every time. "How many times has she told this story..." I wondered "for it to become embedded in her head to this degree?"
The way I look at this now is that, if that's what they want to do (complain endlessly on a loop) that's their prerogative, but it's also my prerogative not to have to listen to it. One thing I realised with another friend, who is always ranting about one thing or another, is that there's plenty of other people who are willing to listen and join in. It doesn't have to be us.  Personally, I've found that spending to much time with people who are stuck, keeps one stuck too, and that's when resentment creeps in. That's what happened with my siblings. They didn't want to become healthier and I resented them for it. In reality, I didn't need to. All I had to say is: "Fine, you stay there if you want, but I'm off". It's the feeling "obliged" to stay "there" with them, what makes one resentful, but if you don't "stay there" then they're not so much of an issue. I guess it's as just unfair to both parties for one to expect the other to keep up, or for one to expect the other to stay behind. You can see why relationships like that always end up feeling strained. 
Some people though, make you feel like you've been "re-charged" after spending time with them. There's an interchange of true humanity there. They "see" you as a person and you "see" them too. They make one feel "alive and kicking". Those are the healthier types: the "living". I'm aiming to spend more time with the "living" this year.   

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


After having written about aunts on my other blog, today I bumped into this excerpt while reading "War and Peace". Looks like, once again, Tolstoy was there before me...

"Everyone had to go through the same ceremony of greeting this old aunt whom not one of them knew or wanted to know or was interested in, while Anna Pavlovna in pensive silence solemnly observed and approved the exchange of formalities. Ma tante repeated the same words to each, asking after the visitor's health and reporting on her own and on that of her Majesty, 'who was better today, thank God'. Politely trying to betray no undue haste, her victims made their escape with a sense of relief at having performed a tiresome duty, and took care not to go near her again for the rest of the evening."

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Narc Slayer

My friend CZBZ from The Narcissism Continuum very kindly nominated me for The Narcissistic Slayer Award.
What does it mean to be a Narc Slayer? For me, it's about "slaying" the power Ns have (had) over me, by not JADEing, or allowing myself to be manipulated by them. By saying NO. It's about doing what I want to do and saying what I want to say. It also means to "slay" my own Narcissism by not "feeding" my ego. It is indeed, a two way thing, because it's so easy to spot it in others, not so easy to see in oneself.
The rules for this award are:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.
2. Put the award’s logo on your blog.
3. Write a blog post and share the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required.
4.  Inform your nominees on their site.
5.  Share one positive thing that you took away from your relationship with a Narcissist.
Thank you CZ for nominating me for this award, and for your generosity in sharing the knowledge and experience that you have. It has been invaluable in my progress. 
I'd like to nominate the following blogs:

What I took away from my relationship with Narcissists, is finding that I had an inner strength and integrity I didn't know I had. Like the famous saying: "What doesn't kill you makes stronger", and in the case of having had to deal with Narcissists, "if it doesn't kill you, it will make you manipulation-free." I still remember a day in the aftermath, when the realisation dawned on me that the Narcissists I knew had, unwittingly, done me a favour. Once I had been subject to the whole range of their tricks, and once I was able to see them for what they were, I became "immune" to them. And being immune to manipulation, though having been learned in a very painful way, it's truly a gift.
When I started writing in 2012 I didn't expect that anyone would read my blog, let alone that I would get an award. I didn't imagine either, that I would have been able to do the things I have accomplished during this time. Like holding my own with people like "El Zorro" without batting an eyelid, or being able to visit my FOO without being sucked up in their "merry-go-round"; but I do not take credit for this just for myself, these feats would not have been possible without the support I've had from you guys. So a big THANK YOU to you too. It's amazing what you can do when you feel backed up.