Out of the Closet: As a Borderline and a Narcissist

dsc04331aEven now, just as I begin to write I can feel myself wanting to detach, even slightly dissociate into a day-dream type state.

I’m tired though and depressed. What I take some days for my depression and anxiety, makes me tired the next day, which in turns feeds the depression and my boredom.

So, to the point of this post: I have borderline personality disorder. I was diagnosed some time ago, but even if I hadn’t been, I could, quite confidently still say this and know it’s true.

In fact, I sought the diagnosis. Although I would’ve preferred to be proven wrong, the truth is truth no matter how much you don’t want it to be. Sure, I could also be labeled as having Complex Post Traumatic Disorder too and in fact I do think I suffer from that as well. After all, I have borderline because of ongoing emotional neglect and abuse via both parents, which also caused the post traumatic stress.

The traumatic stress was exacerbated during the stretch of weeks that my family and I cared for my father after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. There abuse exhausted me. I found myself wondering during the editing of this post, if their treatment of me didn’t play a part in removing the mask that I wear. That being said, the mask is and has been off in my living situation for a long time. It has come off in periodic fits of rage or berating of others.

According to the DSM (any version that lists it) I fit quite well into each symptom of BPD. I have mentioned the personality disorder here and there on this blog, but not a whole lot, pertaining to myself, preferring to go along with the (C)PTSD part of the diagnosis, given the way I acquired it. Note: I was not diagnosed with Complex PTSD. The therapist who diagnosed me with borderline also diagnosed me with PTSD.

My thinking on that is because the complex form is not recognized in the DSM and it’s likely for insurance purposes as well. This therapist , in fact all the therapists I’ve seen covered by public assistance have seemed to be more concerned with making sure they get paid than making sure they can help me.

Digressing…sorry.

Feeling afraid and shameful, because of the stigma, I have preferred to mention as little as possible in reference to myself. Besides, don’t people with C-PTSD have trouble with impulse control and containing emotions as well?  I’d bet that some do. It’s a coping strategy in defense of feeling threatened. Whether a real threat or not.

Some of what I’ve written of my behavior though, certainly speaks for itself and someone knowledgeable of the disorders would likely figure it out.  In fact someone knowledgeable may even guess I have some level of narcissism as well.

I want to at some point, go down the list of borderline symptoms and illustrate how they fit my own behaviors. But for now, I will just give an example of some unstable relationship behavior:

In past relationships I have been very indecisive (although the men were always unhealthy) and would pull someone in. Then when I felt like things were getting too serious, I’d push them away in some form or another. I know now that it was because I felt engulfed.

I spent my twenties back and forth between two men, seeing one for a stretch of time, then doing that with the other, repeatedly. Same two guys.

Then in my thirties there were two other men, one being married and the other Mr. B. It wasn’t quite the same as with the other two, but I found myself at one point not wanting to make up my mind between the two of them. In fact, I don’t know that I ever would have, had it not been made up for me. The married man from when I was in my early thirties is one in the same as the man I got re-involved with at the end of 2009 and he was married again to someone else

Always though, sex was the high-point and the most important part of these relationships for me. In fact it was an addiction of sorts. Sex in and of itself wasn’t what I’d call an addiction. I was addicted to each person I wanted to have sex with. I didn’t go seek out sex with every guy in town just so that I could have an orgasm. Sex though, with the men I felt drawn to, was an escape for me like getting drunk was or smoking a joint.

I was up late last night reading a blog I found a link to on the resource page of the blog “Down the Rabbit Hole.”

That  blog is called “From Narcissism to Nirvana” and can be found here. I found myself relating to so much of what was written there.

I know, it’s well known that if you question yourself being a narcissist, you aren’t one. But I don’t agree with that across the board. That’s not to say I don’t think all narcissists are aware, nor do all narcissists question. And it’s probably that if a malignant narcissist is aware of what he or she is, they see no reason to change.

Nor am I saying that I think every single person who questions themselves, is one. As has been said before, narcissism runs on a spectrum and a little is a good thing anyway.

On the blog is a post about different types of narcissists. I found this interesting to read about and found myself in the description of “Fragile/Covert narcissist.” Not everything fit, but enough to see and understand that I have some issues with this. You can find that post here.

I have been resisting using these labels. But I believe this resistance is holding me back from writing as freely as I’d like. I’ve been afraid of what some of my readers will think, say or do. (Even though I don’t have many.)

I am irresponsible. I stay up late and I sleep late. I don’t work. I rely on someone else to keep a roof over my head. There’s SNAP but no cash benefits because I don’t have kids. I self-isolate and have done so for a few years now. When I do leave the house for necessary errands, I am completely wiped out by the time I get back.

I berate my roommate and have little patience for our cat.

Even when Mr. B does something nice or positive or whatever, I will still find something to berate him for. I find something out of place and I call him at work, angry about it, trying to change the occurrence. Trying to get him to change his habits. Trying to control the situation. Trying to control him.

I rage when I feel threatened or slighted in any way, most of the time as well, so yes, Mr. B has experienced and been on the receiving end of this.

I get agitated easily when someone doesn’t understand me the first time I explain myself, whether it’s a hearing problem or a logistic misunderstanding, my reaction tends to be the same. And as I repeat myself the impatience and agitation is loud and clear.

I have never had an interest in anything long enough to become an expert in it, really great at it or to really make any money at it. I get bored quickly and easily long before I master anything.

On top of this I also have codependency issues. I am afraid to be assertive. Either I am putting my tail between my legs or I rage. There doesn’t seem to be too much in-between most of the time.

The co-dependency issues:

-I have a need for approval from others/everyone. The situation I went through with my family while we cared for my dying father is a really good example of my codependency behavior.
-Not being capable of drawing boundaries.
-Worried my family wouldn’t love me if I didn’t do what they wanted.
-Not standing up for myself when they raged at me or otherwise verbally/emotionally assaulted me.
-Their approval of me was more important to me than my own safety.

My family as a unit is/was very narcissistic.

None of us know how to deal with our emotions or stress in productive ways among each other. That was made very clear during my father’s illness. Speaking for myself, my emotional and stress responses go beyond my behavior with my family, as I’ve illustrated here.

Briefly speaking for my family members, I see borderline traits in my brother, both borderline and some malignant narcissism in my sister, and covert narcissism in my mother as well as apathy.

I prefer to say that I have borderline personality disorder rather than that I am a borderline. Because the borderline traits are the behaviors of false-self, as I see it. They are the protection and the defense. Even some kind of denial of self.

Even the nice-guy act of certain types of narcissists is a protective shell to get others to like them. I understand that this is manipulative and fake and much of the time there is some evil ulterior motive other than to just be liked. But bear with me, I am not talking about malignant narcs.

On the above mentioned blog From Narcissism to Nirvana, the author explains some behaviors and how they relate to the false-self and the mask. In reading I came to my own understanding of the phenomena of the act, the mask and the false-self.

The act is just that, but it’s also an adaptation to the social aspect of life. It’s also a far outer wall, to protect both real and false-selves as well as to hide the mask itself.

The mask is the shield closest to the surface personality, which I think is the false-self. The abusive self, the raging self, the angry and hardened self…that is all the false-self. The self that developed in defense to protect the real-self. The real self is actually the vulnerable soft little child who just wants love. And is the one hidden behind all these hard outer shells, known as masks.

So when the mask comes off it’s not the real-self you see. Even though, neither was the nice guy you first met. When a mask comes off, it’s still just one layer. The rage and evil you see is the self defense coping strategy developed over so much time.

The real-self is also the developmentally arrested self. The layers of masks are there to cover up the fact that the child has not emotionally grown up and into the full-fledged adult it was meant to. The adult child is emotionally stuck in whatever age the wounding began.

So what you see and experience when the mask comes off, is another defense and protective mechanism because the adult child hasn’t learned any coping mechanisms past that early age. That rage is a coping mechanism for a very scared, frightened, sad and grieving child.

The adult (real-self) never had a chance to emotionally develop because the child lived in a necessary state of defense, constant stress and fear.

Children need guidance and direction in order to learn new and age appropriate coping skills from healthy adults who also understand healthy ways of coping, as he or she grows.  When that’s not available, the child is left to fend for itself.

I can’t speak to the experience of every narcissist or everyone with borderline personality disorder. I’m speaking from the understanding I took from something I read and applied to the way it feels for me.

There are times I’ve reacted in anger when it made absolutely no sense and in fact it was a result of being embarrassed. So my thoughts on this, is that perhaps the mask is worn (for some) because of the embarrassment that they have not fully grown emotionally into an adult.

I can say that is likely the case for me as well as wanting to be liked, accepted and not bring about negative attention.

I am an ACON (Adult Child of Narcissists). Both parents I believe now were there own brand of narcissist. I didn’t see it in my mother prior because she is more covert and much quieter. I also think she has many codependent issues as well. My father fits the more fragile type and his immature emotions were obvious many times throughout my childhood and later.

As a result my defense mechanisms formed as traits that equal both borderline and narcissistic. My father passed away miserable and unhappy. My siblings and mother choose to stay in denial and simply use me as the family scapegoat. However, I am not in contact with them either so I am no longer privy to anything being said in that vein. Their actions, particularly in those last months of involvement with them, made it quite clear how they feel about me.

I feel like a bee who escaped a nest of angry hornets, who wanted to use me for stinging practice and buzz loudly about everyone they felt slighted them or couldn’t control.  I needed to get away from their angry buzzing and their stings. I needed to get the volume of all that noise down. But unfortunately, it still echoes throughout my mind and I am still defending myself against their attacks, even though they are no longer attacking me in real time.

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Below the line is a rambling before editing my thoughts on the act, the mask and the false-self, if you’re interested in some of the thought process.
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The love-bombing, the acting like a super good person, is an act…as most of us know…even the narcissists themselves, including the unaware ones, likely know this. As a narc becomes more familiar with the person he or she is love bombing, he starts to test the waters to see how much they can slack off. And as each layer of the act comes off, the closer you get to the mask. When you reach the mask, that’s when the the hard core abuse and rage really starts.

But under the mask? There’s where the real false-self is. The self that the narcissist doesn’t want you to see. The false self is the constructed self (the wall if you will) to protect the child inside. Because this person, in an adult body, is emotionally arrested at the level of a small child. A small intensely wounded child.

In essence, the false-self is on the surface…under the mask. And all those traits that you see when the mask falls off, is actually still more of the false-self.

The false-self formed a long time ago, during childhood, likely because of harsh abuse and neglect or maybe even from being fawned over too much, to make a child believe he or she was more special than anyone else. But I’d be willing to bet that different types of narcissism forms, depending on whether a child was abused or fawned over. And I’m not speaking from the stand-point of being fawned over as a child.

The false-self formed as a defense to protect the child. And as the child grows, it becomes more and more ingrained because it continues to need to protect itself.

(I’m using ‘it’ for simplification. I know children and humans aren’t things or its. It’s just easier than writing him/her and himself/herself. No offense intended here.)

And so those neural pathways become like dried concrete. And as a child develops into an adult the more it becomes ingrained and cemented in, if you will.

We have been told this can’t be changed because after all it has become the person’s personality. And although it’s disordered, the personality is the definition of someone.

But this begs the question, at least from me, what sort of person would have emerged if there was never a need to protect itself? If the child had been loved, guided and nurtured?

And if someone can become aware, they can also change their behaviors and even the drives that create a mind-set to bring those behaviors forth can also be changed.

In fact it is well known now through the study of the brain that our neuro-pathways are not forever stuck if we decide we want to change. It’s not easy to do but it is possible.

 

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What a Relief

I was thinking I was both a codependent and a narcissist. Even though the experts say it’s not possible, I thought it really might be. But now I’m thinking it’s really not.

Here’s a video explaining well why you might seem like or look like a narcissist and not be.

Codependent Reactions or Narcissistic Abuse

I am not sure how much I’ve gotten into this here on my blog, but I have a tendency to take my anger and frustrations out on Mr. B…my roommate and the one I depend on to put a roof over my head. It’s been happening for years and I’m far from proud of it.

We are not attuned to each other. We are not on the same page usually when it comes to our thought processes about things and even our likes and dislikes can really differ.

Sounds like I’m making excuses. I’m not. No one deserves to be abused because they think differently than someone else and I’d be one of the first to say that.

I’ve been feeling guilty and ashamed for years about this. I can be passive-aggressive with the things I say and do and I didn’t even realize that’s what it was, until recently.  Listening to Lisa A. Romano’s video called “How to Deal with Passive Aggressive Men and Women-Codependency Triggers” I sat there and thought a few times, “Oh my god, I do that!”

And then there’s another video on her channel called, “The Crazy Codependent–When the Narcissists Drive You Nuts and You Can’t Stop Yourself” which confuses matters even more.

I have to say here that I now consider myself a codependent narcissist. And although I am aware of my behaviors sometimes I tend to give up trying to improve myself because it’s so hard. And I make it harder on myself by continuing to eat like shit (probably because I don’t feel I deserve to be healthy) when I’m someone who is really sensitive to foods and additives, etc. It really effects my brain, my body, my thought process and therefore my behavior. (That being said, it’s not the only factor but it is a contributor.)

I would like to mention also, before I go any further that I don’t think Mr. B is a narcissist. However, his emotions are fairly non-existent…meaning he isn’t all that responsive and can seem a bit numb/apathetic at times. This is significant as I continue.

In the aforementioned video about passive-aggressiveness I learned that slamming cabinets is a passive-aggressive behavior. Therefore, things I’ve done, like, punching walls and kicking doors are also passive aggressive.

As an example: The other night I got all worked up about him not coming into the room I was in when he got home from work. We’d talked about something earlier on the phone that needed to be continued when he got home.  At first I had no issue as I figured he’d need a few minutes to get settled in. But then I thought he’d come talk to me soon after. When he didn’t, I became impatient and my first thought was that “He’s being passive- aggressive.”

So even though I found him doing something else, (scooping a disgusting litter box), I still laid into him for not saying hi and coming to talk right away and then used a nasty/condescending tone to put him down for it. I don’t even remember exactly what the fuck I said.I stayed pissed off for a little while but then that was overtaken by shame and guilt.

Even worse is that he apologized to me. UUGGHH!

He owed me no such apology and even though I apologized later, I still felt like shit because there is no taking that back. It happened and I can’t make it un-happen.

Continuing onto another aspect, there have been times that I’ve reacted during an exchange as well. (As I edit though I see a connection.)

My reactions are coming from not feeling understood or heard. I get that part. So when Mr. B didn’t come talk to me right away, that’s how I felt, unheard and not understood. Thing is neither one of us said that we’d talk the very second he walked through the door. That was in my own mind and my own thought process was to get that out of the way immediately.

I’m seeing this now because there have been other times when I’ve reacted without him ever saying anything at other times. One example would be showing him where something goes in the kitchen then finding it in a different drawer. The actual thing that happened there is pretty unimportant. Putting a spatula in the wrong drawer is not a matter of life and death. My problem is with not feeling heard. (Still not an excuse to spaz out on anyone, I’m just explaining what I understand.)

Better you watch the video. Her words explain so much better than I can. And that first statement about being in the middle of a reaction and wanting to stop, know I should stop, but not being able to…I relate so hard to that.

I will continue with my story with Mr B though below the video. She starts talking about how it works and why codependents can act crazy and live in reaction mode at 12:56 but the whole video is worth a watch.
One more quick note: Mr. B (like my mother) suppresses his emotions.

As I said, I don’t think Mr. B is a narcissist. But sometimes I do wonder if he enjoys watching me fly off the handle. Now that being said, my example of the other night with me just sort of out of the blue getting on him, had nothing to do with anything he said. That was shit going on in my own mind.

However, this is part of the confusion for me between figuring out narcissist vs. codependent. Reactionary behavior comes from having C-PTSD and I obviously felt threatened (emotionally) in some way. I also think these reactions carry over from what has been going on all these years. It’s like a pattern and a cycle. The brain gets locked into thinking this is the behavior that works or there’s a neural pathway that’s dug in there that keeps the person repeating the same shit…even though in reality it doesn’t work and isn’t healthy.

There are many instances of feeling not understood by Mr. B both in significant conversation and important topics as well as things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme. I also think that I’ve become more sensitive to not being understood when it comes to unimportant shit because of the misunderstandings about important things. And this has been an issue with other people as well, not just Mr. B. I have found that something that seems like common sense to me, doesn’t turn out to be so, according to others. And when I took for granted that someone would do what needed to be done, perhaps I hadn’t been clear, but thought they’d know what to do, I would find later that they hadn’t and so that has led me to become more and more controlling over the years.

Whew! This shit is exhausting.

Now after pointing out all this behavior not to be proud of, I want to relay what happened last night with my awareness intact while also feeling tired and agitated.

To preface: When I tell Mr. B something and then he shows me with his words that he doesn’t understand what I’ve said or even if he makes a joke when I don’t feel like joking, it feels like our brains get tangled up in each other. I generally get immediately agitated and then try to talk the tangle out. And become more agitated because in my stress my thinking isn’t clear and explaining myself proves to be difficult. Things seem to get more entangled because he still doesn’t seem to get what I’m saying.

Or if he says he gets it, I get pissed off anyway that he didn’t get it in the first place. I also get angry that I’m stuck in a situation with someone who doesn’t get me.

Last night, I said something that he responded to with a joke. It wasn’t where I wanted to take it. It was late, he had just told me something somewhat related and so I was continuing along that same topic and informing him of something I found interesting.

He told me he had seen our landlord at the convenience store down the street before coming home last night. It made me think how I’d run into our ex-realtor at the same store just a couple days ago.

Something my best friend when I was 13 and I would have called a “hum hum gee” moment. “Hum hum gee” was our way of expressing things that happened that seemed strange or synchronistic.

Edit 9/16/17: Rereading this tonight, I notice it’s a repeat. Sorry. I’m going to keep it though. It’s too much to go back and fix and since I was outlining the conversation that took place that is scripted below, it’s in context. And it clears up the jumbled mess of an explanation that is written above.

The conversation:
Mr. B: I saw the landlord at the store just now.
Me: Ha, oh really that’s weird, since I saw the realtor you fired a couple days ago.
Mr. B: Oh Debbie…the realtor I fired a couple days ago?  (Jokingly)
Me: No I saw her a couple days ago at that same store.
Mr. B: I know, the way you said it made it sound like I fired her a couple days ago.

Now at this point I was agitated. I don’t think it really shows in the script above, but I was. I was tired and I knew my communication wasn’t perfect. But after 13 years of living with someone, I guess I feel like we should be able to fill in each other’s blanks.

Me (A little visibly annoyed): I was just telling you that because I think it’s weird that you ran into our landlord there when I also ran into that realtor.

He knew what I meant anyway, because he knows the story and it was also indicated by his joking about how I communicated what I wanted to say.

However, I wanted him to say something like, “Huh, oh really, that is weird.”
But by the time I got that point across, the enjoyment of the moment was gone for me.

It would’ve have helped me feel more connected so when he didn’t do that, and this happens a lot, I once again felt as though we weren’t connecting as usual.

Edit 9/16/17: This is actually a normal human need to have what you say reflected back. It’s part of a satisfying, healthy relationship. But he continually denies me this. So my flipping out could very well have a lot to do with his lack of fulfilling this very normal need. It’s good to read this again. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t control my behavior of flipping out on him. But I am changing my perspective a bit and feeling more compassionate for myself. Whether he intentionally withholds what I need (the reflecting back) or not, it has the same effect. I have attempted to not engage with him before but usually fail. I will be more conscious of this from now on in a little bit of a different way. Not sure I will be engaging him much anymore. We’ll see. Things have improved since I wrote this in some ways. I will be watchful.

At this point, I would usually run my point into the ground and then let my agitation get the best of me and start condescending him for not thinking the same way I do, for not being on the same page as I am and that this is how it ‘always’ goes with us.

Edit 9/16/17: Thing is, in this incident, he was joking, so that means he was doing this deliberately. I can feel the frustration I felt then.

But instead I left it there and let it drop. I still felt bothered by our lack of connection but it also felt good to let it go because it meant that it wasn’t all-important that I grasp him by the figurative hair and make him see it the way I do.

I was disappointed, and I acknowledged that as well, (silently to myself) which I think helped me to understand my reaction to his responses to me that I don’t like. Edit 9/16/17: See just above in purple. More understanding than before. He holds a share of responsibility in the lack of connection for sure.

It’s good to record the positive as well as the negative. It’s important to remember that you can do differently even if it is difficult.

I spent some time running errands yesterday and while I was driving around I spent some time thinking out loud about my behaviors and how I’ve been aware for a long time, but then just continue to fall back into the same behaviors and not do anything to change them.

I was also thinking about something Lisa R said in another video about getting present in moments of needing to respond.This is key, I believe, to really making changes in behaviors.

That day, I’d already been reactive to some things that had happened and so was triggered from those into my thought process in the car later.

I think it really helped me last night in that exchange and interaction with Mr. B.

If you are struggling with being a reactive codependent…or any type of codependent or even an aware narcissist (is that an oxymoron?) then I would highly recommend Lisa A. Romano’s channel on YouTube.

Car Crash, Seeing ‘Friends’ and Being Fucked With

dashcamcrash

Image from The Telegraph But was taken by a dashcam

This morning I was awoken out of dream by my alarm but the dream hadn’t completed itself. It was frustrating because I would’ve liked to have seen where it would have actually ended.

From what I can remember now, it started with me driving somewhere while an old friend of mine’s sister-in-law was following me in her car. But then we pulled over at a busy intersection with not only vehicle traffic going on, but also pedestrian traffic as well. There were lots of stores and the area reminded me of how a city would look in the 40s. My friend’s sister-in-law and I spoke to each other about something I don’t remember and that was the end of that ‘scene.’

Next thing I know I’m in a car (a Mustang) in the passenger seat while someone, I’m not clear of who, was driving. (Maybe it was my friend’s sister-in-law.)  At one point when I was saying something to the driver, I looked over and saw s/he was gone. The car was driving itself in the dark on a long stretch of highway. At that point it was going under a long tunnel. Still in the passenger seat I realized (calmly) that I needed to get in the driver’s seat.

So I climbed over and attempted to take control of the wheel, but the car was going pretty fast and I found it difficult.  My visibility was low and it was dark. I was trying to slow down but the car seemed to have a mind of its own and wouldn’t let me. I put my seat belt on. The steering wheel shook.

While going at a high speed, suddenly my friend Jackie (someone I was close to in high school and some years after) was in the passenger seat and we were talking. What about? I don’t remember.

We came to a T in the road, where there was no going straight anymore, and only had the choice of going left or right. I slammed the brakes and turned the wheel to take the right turn but the car was going too fast to cut it.

The car skidded and I saw it careening toward people who were standing on the sidewalk in front of a building. When the car crashed into the side of that building, smashing the driver’s side, it just missed hitting the people.   After crashing into the wall, the car bounced off and flipped a few times. Somewhere in there, I mentioned to Jackie about putting her seat belt on because she hadn’t been wearing it.

The whole time I was calm though.

The car came to a rest on its tires and we got out of the car. Plenty of damage was done with dents and scrapes and scratches all over the car.

A man came over and said some things to Jackie that I don’t remember and took the car somewhere to look at it and possibly repair it.  I think the car was supposed to belong to my friend Jackie.

After that, staying in the same place, (which was this building where a bunch of us were gathered, vaguely remembering, it was like a social thing) I left that area and passed by a girl whom I’d been friends with in my junior year of high school.

I’d ruined the friendship in real life and that was picked up in the dream. She and I said hi though and I kept walking because I didn’t want to bother her, for one thing, but I am pretty sure I was looking for someone in particular or perhaps a group of people.

I came across my friend Topher who told me he was going to help me buy a car (I think.) We started to walk toward a door to leave and when we got there, I opened the door and walked out first. He let the door shut while he was still inside and when I turned around to see this, he laughed at me.

This was a clear message that he’d been bullshitting and playing with me and didn’t mean what he’d said. I remember feeling hurt and angry and also helpless.

After that I remember sitting on a rattan couch (or love seat kind of thing) and talking to Janet, the aforementioned friend from 11th grade, whom I’d ruined the friendship with. I remember feeling so anxious talking to her because, although I was happy to be talking to her, I knew it was fairly superficial. The closeness was gone and she was definitely not going to let me get too close.

This caused me to fight myself because I wanted things to be the way they were in high school between us. I wanted to say something, whatever would put things back to the way they were. But I also didn’t want to smother her, nor did I want to be rejected. It felt lonely and a little fake and I regretted so much what I had done to ruin the friendship. I just lapped up whatever time she’d give me and hope and try not to say anything wrong.

(NOTE: Yes, I was feeling this in the dream about an actual event with this friend while talking with her and spending whatever time she’d give me in the dream. In real life, I had really screwed up this friendship.)

After that, I walked into a room to gather some things that I guess belonged to me. I went to a sink, one of those deep sinks you see in a restaurant kitchen, which was full of water. From it, I picked up a couple round pieces of wood and something else I’m not clear on.

The measurement of the wood was the circumference of a telephone pole and about three feet in length.  I hoisted all of this over my right shoulder and walked through another room where people were sitting at long tables, almost like picnic tables, and talking.

As I started walking up a set of steps after crossing that room, I noticed Topher sitting at one of the tables talking to a woman.  I looked over at him with a hurt look on my face and when he glanced over at me, I looked away and continued walking up the steps, lugging those pieces of wood on my shoulder.

That’s when my alarm went off.

Once I started groggily reviewing the dream in my mind, I began to make other associations to things that had taken place in my life. I came to the conclusion that the behavior I’d displayed was very narcissistic.

I wanted to write the dream out right away but I needed to get over to visit a dog and get her outside and feed her breakfast.

The more time passed this morning, the more stunned I felt about the fact that as a result of my parents abuse, I’d not known how to be a friend and maintain a friendship. Not that I hadn’t known this already, especially logically. But the realization was penetrating deeper, into my soul maybe. My body went into defense though. I would have liked to have cried, but I’m still numb, hard like a wall.

Before sitting to write this, I just felt stunned.

Edit Friday 9/15/17: Reading through this again I took more notice of the parts involving a car. No one in the driver’s seat and crashing. Even driving someone else’s car. Lots there to be interpreted.

Strings of Entanglement

DSCN6752abIn reading the book, The Sociopath Next Door I’m reminded of a very significant time for me…at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, that brought the end of a (at the risk of being cliche) tumultuous affair. There really isn’t any other word that describes it so well.

Note: I wrote this post quite some time ago and don’t remember the trigger that reminded me of what I’ve written here in this post. But I get reminded a lot when I read. I don’t think my ex AP (affair partner) was a sociopath but he certainly did fit a lot of traits for a narcissist.

I used him as much as he used me.

I was looking for someone to rescue me and I thought he could. This wasn’t conscious, at least not while I was actively engaging. I lied to myself that I loved him.

I was addicted. So hooked and wanted to change him and his behavior to fit my happiness. I was very obviously out of control of the whole situation. The only way to gain it was to walk away and stay away.

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Every time I tried, I missed him so much I felt like I was missing one of my own limbs.

The affair was an escape from my own life. I hadn’t been doing much with myself and thought it would add excitement for me to get in touch. I looked at one of his photos and (narcisstically)  thought, “He looks so unhappy.”

I hoped my reaching out would lead to other things and was even cock-sure it would, since we’d had an affair before.  In fact, I fell into the same trap within myself thinking that I could be that special person who could make him happy.

I was foolish. I was wrong and I had no business with someone else’s man. He swore she’d cheated on him a number of times and he was done. He’d decided on that before I’d reached out. But the fact remains I hadn’t known that and reached out just the same.

After the break up, I read so much, in order to do more escaping and to hopefully explain what is wrong with him, to help with the pain. To put my mind at ease. I know there was/is plenty wrong with me, starting with my values, at the very least, confused about my values, going after a married man.  That being said though, it was certainly a joint effort.

The break up felt like being hit by a freight train. So I had this overwhelming need to figure him out. I thought that if I could fit him into some mental illness box, I would get relief. I read one book that turned on a bright light bulb and I foolishly thought I would be OK after that.

But the drinking to numb continued. Smoking weed when I got the chance also didn’t stop. At least not for a while. I wish I could remember now how long it was, before I couldn’t get drunk anymore, no matter how much I drank and smoking pot couldn’t cover up the searing pain anymore. But it finally happened. And I was trapped, with myself, with the pain.

So then I started to read to figure me out.

And as I read, I came across information about disorders and thought that I had all of them or at least parts of them.

It gets so bad that I periodically isolate. I feel a lot of shame for one thing. But also I’ve discovered that I don’t know too much about who I am. Getting romantically/sexually involved with a married man isn’t something I ever want to do again, even if he is in the midst of a divorce.

I was too wrapped up in immediate gratification when I got involved with him and not thinking about anything or anyone else.

He incidentally got that divorce. But he is married again…two years after our break up and he’d moved in with her (into her house) just a few months after he’d broken up with me just before Thanksgiving 2011.

He came back before the finale though, before he moved in with her that is.  Told me he and she had broken up. I’d been aware that he was dating her at the time we’d broken up originally. But I was hell bent on winning him back somehow.

In fact I’d been the one to text him after the new year (2012) and beg to see him.  And he did come to see me.

That day he told me, because I wasn’t working and we were no longer in our twenties, things couldn’t possibly work out. He also told me he couldn’t have a healthy relationship until his divorce was final.

Apparently that ‘healthy relationship’ announcement was brought on by his new girl friend’s jealousy, it turns out, because his stbx at the time had posted something on Facebook to make the new girl think he was still fucking the stbx. And now he was also telling me that I wasn’t so crazy for getting jealous before about the same kinda shit. Guess he needed a gauge of yet another woman to see if my emotions were normal.

I didn’t want to accept what he was telling me…that it was hopeless for us. And he drove away, leaving me with the hope that I would be hearing from him again pretty soon. But honestly, I had the feeling that it was the last time I’d see him and that he’d told me that “we can keep talking” just to appease me and get me out of his car.

A week later I got a text:  “You know how I feel about you, but she was there when I got home from seeing you that night. She invited me to move in with her and I’m going to accept. This is my chance to stop working so much. You know how I hate working 60 hours a week. You will always have a piece of my soul. Au Revoir my love.”


I had to go back into the letters I’d written after the break up. Letters I wrote while feeling that searing pain and realized that some things escaped my memory. Letters I’d never send.  The gist is here, in this post. But at the same time, there is a bit more.

It opens up some wounds and I see how he played me and gave me false hope at some points near the end. I see the danger of the possibility of more cognitive dissonance and ruminating, because of the hope I found in his words at the time.

We broke up in November, 2011. He went off and dated L. And then after some time I’d texted him and asked if I could see him. He said no, not at this time.

I let a bit more time go by and I texted him one day and said, “Do I seriously have to live my life without you?”

He sent a text back telling me, “I don’t want to live without you either but I need to get my shit together.”

That actually made me feel better. Maybe it didn’t work out with L because he was thinking too much about me.

These texts were exchanged before his final visit, btw, in case you’ve gotten confused.

And then during that final visit, his words and body language were completely different. Had he changed his mind in between or had he simply been sending a text of least resistance?

What I think happened though is that the two of them did break up but she’d made contact after he’d texted me that sweet little message. He told her that he couldn’t have a relationship until divorced, so felt free enough to come see me when I requested.

But when seeing me, perhaps realized all the issues between us and maybe was even thinking about and comparing me to L. I don’t know. I do know he was preoccupied though and looking back at some of the things he did, it seems as though he knew that was his last visit with me. Stopping to hug me a few times as we walked a trail near my house and then petting my cat a whole lot longer than he ever did before.

So maybe she was there when he got back from seeing me. But maybe she’d asked him before he came to see me and hadn’t been sure of his decision until after he’d seen me.

Four years later though, it no longer matters. But it still makes me sad. The whole situation was sad because all people involved are/were lonely sad people.

Glare and Daggers

woman shooting daggers

Gif from giphy dot com. Don’t go there if you are prone to seizures.

The piercing daggers I felt as my sister glared at me were painful and intimidating.

Despite knowing by then how much she loathed me, a part of me still longed for the resolution I knew would never happen.

I’d been bringing my father smoothies on a pretty regular basis, making a last ditch effort to turn his health around, even though the prognosis was dim. But at the time I had not really known how serious things really were.

I now know that I was not getting clear information from my siblings, who in turn may not have been getting clear information from the doctor either. But they accompanied my father to the doctor so they knew more than I did first hand. Now that I think back on it, I have a feeling I was being alienated.

But then I don’t know since I didn’t go to the doctor appointments. I suppose I could have, but in all honesty I didn’t want to be in such a trapped situation such as a car, with my siblings. And it was difficult enough for me to be in the situation as it was.

My father had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was understood the prognosis wasn’t good, but there were no definitive answers. At least as far as I knew. As far as my father seemed to know. I wonder how much the doctor wasn’t sharing with my father. I wonder how informed my siblings were compared to my father.

I started to bring him smoothies because he was having some digestive problems and diarrhea. I simply offered them and he gratefully accepted the jars I brought him, filled with what looked like milkshakes and Mistos, (check out Rita’s Water Ice to see what that is) made with fruits and greens.

I had a feeling that my sister wouldn’t respond favorably to my efforts of helping my father, in the form of green smoothies. So when she came by for a quick visit to ask my father how his appetite was, I cringed inside and waited for her reaction in judgment to ensue.

“Not too bad, your sister brought me a smoothie this afternoon,” my father responded.

From the far end of the dining room table, I glanced over the screen of my laptop, I felt the desire for approval, once she knew, while at the same time the impulse to defend myself. I said, “I thought it would help his digestion.”

Like a jealous and narcissistic co-parent, she spun around on her scrawny ass, where she’d been sitting on the coffee table, to shoot me a glare of daggers and said with a cold and bitter tone, “Or go right through him.”  I could hear the sneer that was not quite visible on her face.

I felt so defeated, not to mention hurt yet again. Like I couldn’t ‘win’ with her. As long as I fulfilled her need of “babysitter,” she seemed to feel this right and maybe even a duty to crush and control me every opportunity she saw.

It seemed to be in that moment, that in her twisted little mind, that I was supposed to simply show up and prepare for him whatever was status quo.  How dare I go off the conventional track. After all, food had nothing to do with his illness.*

At the time along with feeling defeated, I also was angry while being afraid at the same time. My sister can rage as well as say some cutting things and bring up other apparent unresolved issues she tends to hold onto, fighting dirty, using them against me when the timing seems just right to her.

And me, at that moment, with her, physically in my vicinity, feeling she was presenting a physical threat to me just by her presence and attitude, I wanted to just keep the peace. At that point, I was just biding my time, already knowing I was going to sever ties with this nasty troll, once I’d gotten through all of this.

So I took the figurative punches while telling myself, “Just a little longer.”
Of course not knowing really how much longer.

I wanted to stick up for myself so badly despite that fear. I wanted her to know that she was being a nasty little bitch for no reason.That her behavior was abusive and she had become, along with our brother, a horrible bully toward me.

I wanted to know why she felt the need, to put down my effort to help, in such a mean way, instead of discussing it with me respectfully if she disagreed with it being a healthy alternative.

I knew why she wouldn’t discuss it. Besides the eggshells that surround(ed) the entire family, she was jealous of my ability to think outside the box, while at the same time feeling superior and that my ideas were stupid and ridiculous.

But for me to stick up for myself, I knew, she’d likely just roll her eyes while berating me for being too sensitive after which she’d walk away feeling triumphant and I’d feel frustrated for not being able to get a word in or not know what to say until the whole thing was over.

I’m sure she knew I wouldn’t ‘rock the boat’ in such a scenario, as to stress out my dying father. She’d already put that anchor in place during a previous conversation about “this not being about her or me. It’s about dad and only dad since he’s the one whose ill.”

And although the probability of her raging while in my father’s apartment was low to non-existent,  I still worried a little about it because I knew her capability of holding on to something until she could release it on me, which could possibly manifest itself in an explosion.

I’d been on the receiving end of that a few times. Once in person. But I’d said something passive aggressive and I really don’t blame her for that too much. A lot of tension had accumulated between us and we hadn’t had any knowledge of how to deal with it because our parents hadn’t taught us how to talk through our frustrations with each other.

But luckily in the more recent incidents where she flew off the handle (after what I was saying was not passive aggressive, but attempting to resolve some issues between us) took place on the phone and I was able to simply hang up.

In person, I felt I ran the risk of her impulse control failing. So I kept my mouth shut.

More stuffed anger on my end.

I think I’m going to have to write one of those letters I’ll never send to each family member, expressing my feelings.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that might help me in a big way.

 

 

*projection. I can’t possibly know what she was actually thinking. I was going by things she’d said in the past, issues we’d had that I’d tried to discuss, etc.