family, LDS, mental health

Finally hearing each other…

This morning, Bill told me that his daughter sent him a long email. It was mostly about how her little daughter is doing with some physical therapy she needs. She also had tubes put in her ears, which has made it a lot easier for her to hear. The baby is now a lot less temperamental. In fact, Bill’s daughter said she had an insightful moment when she realized her daughter was basically hearing her clearly for the first time. It was probably a stunning experience for her.

I continue to be amazed, watching Bill reconnect with his daughter. For so long, we had the impression that she hated him. But once they started talking to each other, it was clear that the bond they had years ago was still there. Then they started comparing notes about what it was like to deal with Bill’s ex wife.

I know a lot of people, over the years, have gotten the idea that I’m just a bitter second wife. I guess I can’t blame people for having that impression. All most people get of our story is what I write, and I write with a bias. But, when two people who have had similar experiences with a narcissist get together and compare notes, it soon becomes a lot clearer what the problem is and who the culprit is. I may write with a bias, but what I write is based in truth, at least as I see it. And I do try to be fair as much as possible and, in fact, have even managed to change my mind about some things.

I used to feel compelled to write a lot about Ex. I saw her as someone who got away with terrible things against good people. I don’t feel compelled to write about her very much now. Because now I see that she isn’t getting away with anything, really. Sooner or later, the truth always emerges. I knew it eventually would in this case, too.

I’ve also found that the animosity I had toward Mormonism has also dissipated somewhat. I no longer feel nearly as angry at the church as I used to, mainly because the church helped fix this situation. Good people in the church helped Bill’s daughter leave a terrible situation. While I think she could have found help from many other sources, the Mormons were there for her. She’s comfortable with the religion. I don’t agree with a lot of the church’s beliefs or practices, but I have respect for the fact that church members did some good for Bill’s daughter. And I laugh a bit, since it was Ex that introduced the church to Bill’s kids in the first place, and used it as a means of alienating them from him. Now, that plan has backfired, as many of her harebrained plans eventually do.

Younger daughter has turned out to be a very kind, insightful, and unusually empathetic person. I didn’t see these tendencies in her when she was younger, but I guess she must have had them. And, of course, I was never allowed to get close to her anyway. The image that was projected to us was one that made her look a lot like her mother. But she’s not like her at all. I’m sure what we saw was carefully crafted to discourage others from throwing her a life ring out of the situation she was in.

When she and Bill visited earlier this year, they talked for hours. They compared experiences. She wanted to know about some painful things… although she doesn’t even know the half of what happened. But even as she was asking about those things, she recognized that talking about them might be painful for Bill. She even realized that he was a victim of domestic violence, which really impresses me. And she has said outright that she wants to avoid continuing the cycle of destruction and abuse.

Switching gears here… it just occurred to me that our new dog, Noyzi, could almost be a metaphor for what Bill has experienced with his daughter. Here he is, this very sweet dog born on the streets of Kosovo, a country where dogs aren’t necessarily adored like they are in Germany and the United States. When we first got Noyzi, he was so afraid of everything. He didn’t understand anything at all. He bumped into glass doors, because he’d never seen them before. He shied away from Bill and me, and didn’t want to eat or walk on a leash. In fact, his first day here, he didn’t want to come inside.

As time passed, he started to get used to life with us. It took him no time to realize that being in a house is a good thing. He quickly claimed his bed, as well as a spot by the loveseat, where I usually sit to do my jigsaw puzzles. He loves trying different foods and always accepts them gratefully and politely. He’s still terrified of Bill, but he makes progress every day.

It’s not unlike watching Bill rekindle his relationship with his daughter. It started very tentatively and has developed into something beautiful. And there’s new progress every day. It won’t be long until those old fears will be replaced by good memories and love. It’s so rewarding to work with him. Likewise, it’s so rewarding to see Bill and his daughter heal their relationship.

I watch a lot of videos about narcissism on YouTube. I’ve found several good channels. I like the ones in which the tone taken is one of empathy and kindness, even though I will admit my basic instinct is anger. Narcissistic people and others with character disorders are typically very abusive people who lack empathy. It’s hard to maintain empathy for people who have none, but I think it’s important to try. Otherwise, we aren’t much better than they are.

I have been feeling somewhat more peaceful lately. I haven’t forgotten anything, but I’m a lot less angry. When I see things evolving the way they always eventually do, it makes me feel better. The truth always comes out eventually. It may take years, but eventually, the jig will be up. And while I don’t take pleasure in seeing people suffer, I do think that bad behavior has to be addressed somehow.

Narcissists hate to lose. Just watch Donald Trump’s behavior as he’s being forced to reconcile the fact that he is about to be kicked out of power. But inevitably, they lose. Inevitably, their behavior causes them to be kicked to the curb. I find as I get older, I’m quicker at spotting them and have less patience for tolerating them. I think younger daughter is going to be even less tolerant at a much younger age. I applaud her for that.

Just as Bill’s granddaughter is finally hearing her mom clearly, Bill and his daughter are hearing each other, too. They’re learning new things, comparing notes, trusting and growing. And Noyzi is hearing kindness and love, and is learning to trust and grow. These are really good things. So that’s my positive post for today. Now, to get on with some music.

P.S. The featured photo has nothing to do with this post, but everything to do with how I’m about to start feeling.