Saturday, December 10, 2016

Challenge Accepted

This holiday season is strange for me so far. There's this combination of over-decorating and humbug. I started dragging out the decorations well before Thanksgiving; that is not at all usual for me. I did the same thing the year my dad died, only it was for Halloween. It might be because any major holiday or birthday when I was a kid was a shit show that on the best of years was a depressing hot mess. Now if I want a good holiday, it's mostly in my hands. I kinda have to fake it to make it nice for the kids, but it becomes fun because of who it's done for and with. I WANT to like the holidays, but no matter how well it's hidden, there's a pall that's cast with all the years of negative conditioning. Now my parents are both gone, the house I grew up in is gone. I will probably be working the rest of my life to cast the darkness away. (Tough motherfucking) challenge accepted. It's not because I've bounced to the top of the hill and relish the battle. It's the best of the limited options.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Bitter End

My mom died this week. Today was the visitation. Everyone spoke of how kind and loving she was, all her church friends and her brother. No one has been awful to me for not being close to her, though i had expected some of that. I just, I KNOW, how she really was with me, and people kept coming up to me and saying stuff like, "Don't be hard on yourself," or "She really loved you, let that comfort you." So, I know she's talked about me and some aspects of our relationship to people who are strangers to me. The thing is, everyone really loved her. Nothing but glowing glowyness about how wonderful she was. Even though no one was mean with me about things, it's clear that the self she reserved for me was completely different than what others got. She was considered to be so self-sacrificing. I suppose it's possible that if she didn't see any boundary between me and her that it made it easier for her to sacrifice me, too, and then to have no fucking idea why I'm so angry and violated by her attitude toward me.  These people have never seen her be childish and demanding and I don't wonder that they can't comprehend that it's not just me, something wrong with me and my attitude towards her. So I thank all these well-meaning people, and pat them and accept their condolences while my stomach is twisting, and I know that as much as I wanted that fantasy of a genuine come-to-Jesus moment it never would have happened. I'm the only one in the world that seems to have had this experience of her, and it feels sick and lonely.

Monday, August 29, 2016

To Be Filed Under "Some Shit Never Changes"

I haven't talked to NM for well over a year, and probably closer to two years and a while back she tried to call my home phone, which I ignored (actually, had to shut the fuckin' ringer off because she let it ring for MINUTES). I guessed either someone died or she had a family get-together that she was going to invite me to, apropos of nothing.

Sho'nuff, I get a CARD in the mail today. It's one of those flowery old-lady cards with birds on the pastel envelope - very matchy-matchy. Front of the card says (as I predicted to myself the minute I decided to open it) "Thinking of You" with a very thoughtful looking bluebird parked on what I believe to be a white gladiolus.

Inside of the card, as it is hand-written exactly:

Dear (me), (husband), (little boy), and (big boy),

I hope all is well with all of you.

(NM's sister) & (sister's husband) are coming Labor Day weekend and we are planning a family get-together on Sunday Sept 4 at 1:00 p.m. at (NM's sister-in-law's) in (that city). I and everyone else would love to have you come. If you could bring a dish and whatever you would like to drink. (That would be appreciated.)

I Love You  and Miss you very much. (This was actually double-underlined, but I couldn't figure out how to do that on my computer.)

Has (little boy)'s school started yet? What grade is he in. Is he into any sports?

How is (big boy) doing? Please give him my love and ask him to come, too.

I've would love to see all of you.

(Aaaand the kicker...) If you can't come please drop me a line or call me. (Would love to hear from you any time.)

Take care. Hope to see you.

My Love, Prayers, and Best Wishes, Always, Mom

P.S. I sure appreciated getting (little boy's) school pictures and look forward to getting more this school year.

Welp. She just guaranteed I'm not going to contact her for shit. I haven't fucking talked to you for over a year because I HATE YOU and we're just going to try to pretend it's all okay, and just play along so your family thinks you're a great mom whose daughter LURVES you and won't I please bring a jello salad and WHATEVER I WANT TO DRINK (but not booze because you will DISAPPROVE HEARTILY or maybe bring booze so you can judge me now that all your relatives who drink have passed away) and CALL YOU because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO and YOU ASKED ME TO. Also I haven't sent you school pictures for over a year of YOUR grandchild who YOU MOST FERVENTLY DESIRE TO HAVE A PICTURE OF AND DON'T FORGET BECAUSE I DID IT LAST YEAR SO DO IT AGAIN DOIT DOIT DOIT.

Shallow, manipulative cunt.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Havoc Beyond the Grave

About a week ago, my childhood home caught fire, resulting in a fatality. It happened in the middle of the afternoon, with multiple workers pouring concrete right outside. The state fire marshal has not released the cause.

I discovered this happened by being tagged on Facebook by a childhood friend whose grandma still lives a couple of doors down from there. The front of the house was featured news by the local big city station, with additional pics of the burnt out window of my former bedroom.

The house had been completely redone, and the workers outside were pouring a concrete slab where my father's nasty garages used to be. My first thought was: What did he do? I know the outrage he would've had when alive over the idea of someone even touching "his" things, let alone changing them completely. My second thought was: What did the house do? I grew up terrified of fire. I prayed deep into the night many, many times that I wouldn't die in a fire. My sis also had nightmares and fears of fire. I had awful, bloody nightmares centering around my bedroom. In her mental illness, my mother tried (unsuccessfully) to set herself on fire one Christmas.

Every day I scan the news wondering what caused it, what caused that poor woman to die in the middle of a day with a huge group of people outside her door.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bullies and Bitches

My eldest son is about to quit his job because of merciless bullying.

Lest ye think he is a "pussy" or a "whiner", I'm frankly proud of him.

He's been working 48 hour weeks for five months at a regular factory job surrounded by "regular" people, a few of whom apparently believe autism spectrum is on par with stupidity.

He is also not a "baby" or "tattletale" since he refuses to let HR intervene, even though they are aware of the issue. He won't tell me the name of this person because he has that many scruples (a few more than myself, I might add), I suppose because he worries that I'll come uncorked. He's just been pushed too far one time too many by a small-minded fuck wit for whom I can only hope that karma has a big, juicy, rotten can of shit in store.

If I ever find out who it is, I'm not above asking people I know in law enforcement if they'll keep an extra-special eye out for the twat, and my son is so good, he wouldn't want me to do that.

Come on, karma.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Good Book

For the book-devourers among you, you may enjoy "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay C. Gibson. I've been reading this one this week, and it contains a lot of information that gives me better insight as to why my parents created such problems.

Some quotes that I found particularly validating:

"....emotionally immature parents expect their children to know and mirror them. They can get highly upset if their children don't act the way they want them to. Their fragile self-esteem rests on things going their way every time."

"When stressed or emotionally aroused, immature people don't experience themselves as being embedded in the ongoing flow of time. They experience moments in time as separate, nonlinear blips, like little lights randomly going on and off, with few linkages in time between one interaction and another. They act inconsistently, as their consciousness hops from one experience to another. This is one reason why they're often indignant when you remind them of their past behavior. For them, the past is gone and has nothing to do with the present. Likewise, if you express caution about something in the future, they're likely to brush you off, since the future isn't here yet."

I especially find the book's information on how children who were brought up in these types of households often fall into the categories of "internalizer" and "externalizer". I can see clearly how in my teen years I was an externalizer and morphed into an internalizer as a young adult. The book speaks about how internalizers end up doing too much emotional work in their relationships because they were trained to do the emotional work of their parents in many cases and felt it was their place to take on all this extra crap.

This book is especially good if you are someone who is self-reflective. If you haven't read this book already, I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

If You Can't Sleep, Blog

Last summer I had boundless energy, and initially it appeared I was headed in the right direction after years of being exhausted and sleeping at every chance, though during those years I felt calm and mostly stable.

The energy helped me accomplish a lot of modest goals last year. I spent much of my time on missions of my choosing when I wasn't slogging through misery at work.

The other day when I was reading back through my blog, it's plain my posts from last year were unhappy ones.

The truth of last year is in what I accomplished. I welcomed traveling to see a childhood best friend I hadn't seen in years. I bought plane tickets so my younger son could try flying. I socialized with my husband and made myself go on golf outings. I painted the house and garage by myself. I went on vacation with my sister. I didn't do this stuff because I was happy and content; I did things I thought I wouldn't be here to do in the future.

I was quietly suicidal and equally hoping that a deadly illness would strike me. I was pushing for the illness so my husband and kids wouldn't have to know how much I really wanted to die. I could not see the future in a favorable way and I was in hell. Obviously, I needed the hospitalization that I got late last year. It's easier to put all the blame for my breaking down on the Xanax and the paradoxical reaction than admit how badly I was losing my shit.

It occurs to me that the timing of my breakdown happened a couple years after separating from NM. Overall, a very positive separation, but my natural predispositions and my struggle to define myself separate from her have been very taxing.  NM had her nervous breakdown a couple of years after her mother died - a forced separation, but a separation nonetheless. Maybe she didn't know how to define herself without her NM either.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Forgiveness Feels Like Selling Out

For a few months, I've been reading heavily on living with mental illness, growing up surrounded by it, and living with toxic and unhealthy people.

I discovered a couple of Susan Forward books, Mothers Who Can't Love and Toxic Parents. I think most of us who blog on narcissists are already pretty well versed in what makes them tick and what gets them off, and the support from the community of survivors is a very solid tool for understanding. something that Forward writes about in her books is how forgiveness is not a necessity - how for many people it can impede rather than enhance their progress.

Why should you forgive someone who treated you like shit when you were at your weakest and most vulnerable? Because God says so? Because your abusers say so? Because some asshole who doesn't know the truth about how you were treated says so?

I don't buy that shit. I am pretty damn happy now that I've made a conscious decision that I don't have to forgive anyone unless I want to. If it doesn't happen, I won't lose sleep over it or tell myself what a bad and childish person I must be that I can't "turn the other cheek." Forgiveness is only divine for the bully that gets to walk away laughing if you're sitting in a heap of mess over the pain they continue to cause you.

If you want to forgive, do it. If you don't want to, don't do it. Just because other people tell you what they want you to believe does not make them correct. Opinions are like assholes, and some assholes are more offensive than others.