fashion, royals, videos, YouTube

Time to check in with an “old friend”…

I got out of the habit of watching YouTube videos by The Body Language Guy, Jesus Enrique Rosas. Some readers may recall that I was kind of into his videos a few months ago, and he would regularly show up in my video suggestions. Somehow, I fell out of the loop, and after noticing that a lot of people were hitting my blog, having read my comments about some of his earlier videos. I’m sure the interest generated in my older posts about Jesus Enrique Rosas has come about because of the Platinum Jubilee, and the fact that Harry and Meghan have finally taken their children, Archie and Lilibet, to England to see Queen Elizabeth II.

Initially, I liked Meghan well enough. I thought she seemed dynamic, and I figured she might be a breath of fresh air for Britain’s Royal Family. But, I have since changed my mind about Meghan, not that it matters a whit to anyone. I think it’s a shame that Harry and William are not on the best terms, according to the press. Also, I’m sorry to say that she kind of makes my Cluster B warning alarm bells go off. However, I don’t know Harry and Meghan personally, so everything I think is based purely on speculation and conjecture. Of course, I wish their children well, too.

Yesterday, I navigated to Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel and was not surprised to find the below video there, with many snarky references to the “Harkles”… I notice Jesus is wearing a really snazzy new suit, too. YouTube must be treating him well.

As usual, there’s snark aplenty! I get a kick out of Rosas’ wit.

I do wonder if things have turned out for Harry as he’d hoped. Is it all it’s cracked up to be, living in California? Does he feel “dissed” by the Royals? How did it feel to be “booed” by his countrymen? Harry used to be a very popular member of the Royal Family. Now, it seems that a lot of people have turned on him. I think he tried to have his cake and eat it too… and he wasn’t able to do that without significant consequences. I’ve always respected Harry, for many reasons. I think he had a very difficult childhood, though he clearly has a gift for military service. I don’t know what he sees in Meghan, but I’m sure he knows… and really, that’s all that matters.

As for Meghan’s dress… I liked the style well enough, although the white ensemble kind of made me think of an old fashioned style nurse. I’m sure it was no accident that she chose that color, which screams innocence and peacefulness. I liked the way the dress fit her, but I think I would have chosen a different color… because Lord knows, they aren’t innocent, and trying to look innocent is kind of disingenuous. If you listen to Mr. Rosas, you hear him talk about how how Harry and Meghan seemed to be trying to act like the past two years never happened. And whether or not anyone has the “right” to feel this way, I’m sure a lot of Brits feel betrayed by the “Harkles”. Yes, they expected Harry to come home and see his beloved Granny, but as he did so, there was, of course, going to be some shame involved.

River– another hilarious commentator on the Royal Family, also weighed in. River wasn’t a fan of Meghan’s outfit.

I enjoy River’s commentary about the British Royal Family. There’s always plenty of funny snark about the bizarre fashions some of the Royals wear at these events. I am not a fashionista myself, lacking the budget or the body type to wear really interesting (and probably uncomfortable) clothes. But I do enjoy seeing who wears what. Personally, I’m on team Catherine… I think Kate is fabulous, and William could not have possibly chosen a better woman to marry. She’s absolutely perfect for the job of Queen, should the British monarchy survive beyond King Charles. She’s the epitome of grace and class, has a beautiful figure, and seems like a very lovely person, too.

I have probably mentioned before that I attended the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. I was five years old at the time, and we lived in England. I have no memories of it, except for the memorabilia my parents had in our house when I was growing up. And, of course, on our trip to London in 2009, we found a memento of the event near the Tower Bridge.

We were around for this one.

I would like to visit London again at some point… maybe when things are a little more normal in terms of COVID-19. I always get a kick out of my my ancestral homeland. I fit right in on many levels. I don’t enjoy being around crowds, though, so I wouldn’t want to be at the Jubilee, even if there was no pandemic. I’m sure hotel rates are OBSCENE… or even more obscene than they usually are in London.

Anyway… I just wanted to post a lighthearted post today, given yesterday’s bitchery. I enjoy watching the Royals, even though I know a lot of people think they should go. I have tremendous respect for Her Majesty the Queen, though, and I know the past couple of years have been very difficult for her. Losing her dear husband, watching her beloved grandson move to America, being denied access to her great grandchildren… and getting older and more infirm, all as the whole world looks on. It’s tough, I know.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday. I think I shall retire to the living room and hang out with Bill for awhile.

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book reviews, mental health, narcissists, psychology

A review of My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me: A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by Helen Naylor…

Today, I made a concerted effort to finish reading my latest book, My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me: A true story of betrayal and a shocking family secret by Helen Naylor. This book was just published in November 2021. I decided to read it because I’m a sucker for true stories, especially when they are about people who have psychological issues. I’ve always found Munchausen’s Syndrome to be a fascinating disorder, although this was the first time I had seen a book about Munchausen’s Syndrome and not its related malady, Munchausen’s By Proxy.

Munchausen’s Syndrome, also known as “factitious disorder imposed on self”, is a psychological disorder in which a person either feigns illness or injury, or deliberately makes themselves ill. They do so to get narcissistic supply, attention, comfort, or sympathy from healthcare providers, their friends, and especially their families. People with Munchausen’s Syndrome exaggerate any real symptoms they have, often insisting that physicians do very thorough examinations, procedures, and tests. They are often hospitalized, and they have a tendency to know a lot about diseases.

If you search this blog, you’ll find that I’ve already reviewed a couple of books about Munchausen’s By Proxy (MbP). One book was written by a woman who was raised by a narcissistic mother who constantly and deliberately made her ill so that she could get narcissistic supply from medical professionals. The other is a true crime book about a social worker who adopted two babies from Korea in the 1970s and deliberately made them sick, resulting in the death of one of the babies. Again, it was so she could get attention and regard from medical professionals, praising her for her devotion and dedication to her children. MbP is an especially horrifying disorder, as it’s often imposed on people who are helpless, like children, elderly people, or the disabled.

In British author Helen Naylor’s case, she was not a victim of her mother doing horrifying things to her physically in order to get attention. Instead, it was Helen’s mother, Elinor, whom Helen describes as a narcissist, who was making up illnesses and demanding attention from her family and friends. Elinor is now deceased, but Helen writes that her mother pretended to have chronic illnesses for about thirty years. Helen’s father, who predeceased his wife by some years, actually was debilitated with a serious heart disease. When he passed away, Helen, as the only child, was left to take care of her mother, whose constant pleas for attention and emotional outbursts caused real hardships for Helen, who was also married and raising two small children.

For years, Helen endured the constant dramas and stresses surrounding her mother’s mysterious illness, called ME in the book. I looked up ME and found it defined as myalgic encephalomyelitis, perhaps better known to us Yanks as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS made a lot of news back in the late 1980s and early 90s. Elinor Page had supposedly contracted ME at around that time. The ME made it difficult for Elinor to care for young Helen, whom she described as a “difficult child”. Helen writes of her mother not having the energy to take her places or spend time with her. Or, so it seemed, anyway.

Throughout her life, Helen’s mother required her daughter to attend to her every need. She convinced many people that she was very sick, and Helen soon found herself being scrutinized and judged by other people, who expected her to take care of her mother. Most of those people never saw Elinor’s true personality. Most of them never saw Elinor when she was full of energy and fully capable of socializing and taking care of herself. They only saw the fake persona she put on in a pathetic bid for sympathy and attention. Elinor would do things like deliberately starve herself so that she looked sicker and weaker. She would stage falls near emergency pull cords and insist that she was in dire need of medical attention. She would get the attention, and nothing notable would be found. Elinor would demand full time “carers”, but she didn’t really need them. So she would call her daughter, who was very busy with her own life and raising her own children.

After Elinor died, Helen found her mother’s diaries, which she kept quite religiously. It was after she read them that Helen realized just how psychologically sick her mother was, even though she insisted that she was debilitated by ME and later by Parkinson’s Disease. Elinor did have mild Parkinsonism, which is not the same as the full blown disease. But Elinor wanted to be regarded as very ill, and she would do all she could to convince people that she was unwell and needed hospital care. I think it’s important to point out that again, this book is set in the United Kingdom, which has the National Health Service. So, while these repeated medical episodes would cost a lot in the United States, money to pay for Elinor’s repeated medical visits and hospitalizations was much less of an issue in England.

I’ll be honest. I found this book compelling, but kind of hard to get through. There were a few parts of the book at which I started to think I didn’t like it very much. But then, toward the end of the book, when Helen writes about the extreme drama her mother put her through as she was trying to raise her children, my heart went out to her. I realized just how incredibly toxic that situation was for everyone involved. Yes, it was very hard on Helen, her husband, Peter, and their two children, Bailey and Blossom, but I think it must have been very hard on Elinor, too. At one point, Helen writes an insightful comment about what had caused Elinor to behave in this way. She was desperate for attention, and must have felt she would die without it.

Of course, it’s easy to have sympathy for the person with Munchausen’s Syndrome when you’re not the person having to deal with their constant emergencies and pleas for attention, coupled with the angry tirades, dismissive hairflips, and outright dramatic scenes that come from narcissists. Having heard from my husband’s daughter about what it was like for her to grow up with a narcissistic mother, I definitely felt for Helen Naylor.

It really is tough when your mother is not a mom. And you are forced to grow up years before your time, taking care of things that children shouldn’t have to worry about. And that demand for duty continues even after you’ve come of age, left the house, gotten married, and have small children of your own to tend. In my husband’s daughter’s case, at least there are siblings– notably, her older sister, who has been recruited to stay home and take care of their mother and youngest brother, who is legitimately disabled. Poor Helen was an only child. And her mother had enlisted a number of “flying monkeys”– friends who were there to help do her dirty work, guilting, and grifting. Helen Naylor didn’t have a “mum”– as she put it. She had a mother who parasitically fed off of her own daughter– for narcissistic supply and to serve as an emotional punching bag. Later, when she found her mother’s diaries, she realized that not only had her mom been faking everything for decades, but Helen was also severely neglected as a helpless baby. She suffered an unexplained and untreated broken arm at six months old, and her mother would leave her alone for hours while she went out drinking.

When I finished My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me this afternoon, I came away with a basically positive opinion of it. It’s reasonably well-written and offers a different look at Munchausen’s. Again, most of the books I’ve seen about Munchausen’s are written about mothers who make their children sick. This book is about a woman who deliberately made herself sick or schemed to make herself look like she’d taken a fall. She fooled a lot of people, except for those who caught her when her facade had slipped. I would imagine that when that happened, it was also traumatic and embarrassing for Helen, who had to deal with the fact that her mother did this stuff. It’s pretty clear to me that Helen is normal and just wants to be a good mom and wife.

People who have to deal with narcissists often hear about going “no contact”. I’m pretty sure that Helen’s husband eventually advocated for that. Or, at least not coming right away when Elinor called. But it’s very hard to turn your back on your own mom. I’m sure that is what kept Helen trapped for so many years. Now that her mother is dead, Helen no longer gets the dramatic phone calls from her mother or people taking care of her mother or worse, finding out that her mother has been hospitalized or moved days after the fact. She no longer has to deal with her mother’s friends, trying to horn in on overseeing her mother’s care and take her things. The traumatic memories linger, however, and I’m sure she is still haunted by them. When I stop and think about just how much this must have been for Helen to deal with, it just blows my mind.

Anyway… I think My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me is well worth reading for those who are interested in psychology, narcissists, or unusual psychological disorders. I will warn that this book is written in a distinctly British style, so some of the terminology and slang may be foreign to American readers. Personally, I found this book kind of hard to finish, but I appreciated that it offers a different perspective of people who need attention so badly that they have to make themselves or other people sick.

It’s pretty clear that Elinor is primarily very narcissistic, but she has a number of other behaviors that augment that already unbearable personality trait. She has the Munchausen’s, but there are also elements of a potential eating disorder and perhaps body dysmorphic disorder, as well as depression and anxiety. She must have been a miserable person, and I am sure she was very miserable to be around. I hope wherever she is now, she’s finally resting in peace. And I hope writing this book helps bring peace and closure to her long suffering daughter.

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silliness

Monica Phelps and her cringey gymnastics commentary…

Here’s another silly post from yours truly. It’s another lame attempt to stop myself from writing something serious today. It’s Friday, after all, and who needs a depressing blog post? All you really need to do is hang out on Facebook for that. Yep– I’m tempted to bitch about some things, but I’d rather draw your attention to the craziness that is Monica Phelps.

Who’s Monica Phelps, you ask? I didn’t know who she was myself, until I stumbled across some hilarious videos made by YouTuber Ampli Tood, who is apparently a big fan of women’s gymnastics. Monica Phelps is a British woman who was an artistic gymnast in the 1960s. She competed in the 1964 Summer Olympic Games when she was about twenty years old and then going by her birth name, Monica Rutherford. Although her status of being an Olympian is nothing to sneeze at, Phelps apparently wasn’t that decorated. According to Wikipedia, her best showing at the Olympics was a ranking of 59th on the vault.

Also according to Wikipedia, Monica Phelps was married to British Olympic diver Brian Phelps. Mr. Phelps is a convicted sex offender, having been sent to prison in England back in 2008. Anyway, these two founded a trampoline club called OLGA, which they ran in England. Later, they moved to France. I’m not sure if Brian Phelps is still in the pokey for rape, attempted rape and 19 indecent assaults on two girls which took place from 1976 to 1986 – while the girls were between six and 15. I’m also not sure if he and Monica are still married. Evidently, Brian Phelps’ younger brother, John, was also arrested for molesting girls.

But enough about the crimes of Brian and John Phelps. This post is about Monica Phelps, who carved a career for herself as a women’s artistic gymnastics commentator on British television. As annoying as some American commentators are, I’ve never heard them say things like Monica Phelps does. She goes from gushing about a performance one moment to body shaming and making grotesque comparisons to “stick insects” another. Have a look at Ampli Tood’s first funny video.

“She’s a hefty girl, but no no, she’s a very slender young lady…”

Good gawd! The above remark just tips the iceberg. It’s like she’ll literally just say anything that comes into her head, no matter how bizarre or inappropriate.

For this second video, Ampli Tood added some goofy synthesizer music and a photo of Monica in her heyday, wearing a sixties era leotard.

“We’re not looking for pre-pubescent stick insects anymore…”

Most of the videos are from the 80s and 90s, which was about the time I used to watch gymnastics regularly. I don’t watch very often anymore, in part because I don’t get live TV here and also because I’m so old and decrepit that it’s depressing to see these really young, fit girls. Especially when I know that so many of them have been abused.

“Quite a chunky gymnast, but…”

I wonder what this must be like for commentators, watching gymnasts and rambling on throughout their performances. I mean, I guess they get paid to do this, but it’s like verbal diarrhea. She just goes on and on, saying things that are equal parts funny and mortifying!

“She is very, very female…”
The elastic makes quite a crease around their waists.

There are a bunch of videos like this one. Ampli Tood has also done some pretty funny videos featuring Tim Daggett, who was a 80s era men’s gymnast. I remember he had a pretty bad history with injuries back in the day. Somehow, he still made it to the Olympics, despite having had many surgeries.

Bwahahahahahaa!

I do like to watch gymnastics, but I’m kind of glad I never felt the need to be a gymnast myself. The recent horror stories that have come out about this sport are just awful. That, along with the constant risk of serious injuries and my fear of breaking my ass were enough to keep me away!

The music on these videos is everything, even if some of the videos are kind of sad. Monica Phelps must have been a successful coach, though, even if her own gymnastics career was not all that stellar… as far as I can tell, anyway.

Dawes is hungry!

I could watch these all day!

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book reviews

A review of Hurry Up Nurse: London Calling, by Dawn Brookes

A week ago, I reviewed a book by retired British nurse Dawn Brookes called Hurry Up Nurse: Memoirs of Nurse Training in the 1970s. When I downloaded that book, I didn’t realize that Brookes had written two sequels. Although her first book didn’t blow me away, I was entertained enough by it to purchase the two follow-ups. They weren’t very expensive and I have plenty of time for reading.

Last night, I finished Brookes’ second book in this series, Hurry Up Nurse: London Calling. As I mentioned in the first review, Dawn Brookes began a long nursing career in the late 1970s, when she was just eighteen years old. Her training occurred under a now obsolete program in which would be nurses could enroll for classes to get basic skills for the job. Britain’s nursing training program has since changed significantly, making Brookes’ story somewhat more interesting, since she was trained in a way that today’s nurses wouldn’t be.

Dawn Brookes’ second book is about her specialist’s training at London Chest Hospital, which she completed after she finished her basic training in her hometown of Leicester. Her instructors in Leicester had recommended that Brookes go on to specialize, since she had a knack for nursing. Brookes explains that she had initially gotten into nursing because she couldn’t decide what to do with her life. It was a lucky stab in the dark, because she found that she enjoyed taking care of people. Nevertheless, the job had its unpleasant realities, which she confronted head on at London Chest Hospital. For instance, one of her duties was to collect sputum samples and check them for signs of disease. It was a duty that no one relished.

Brookes writes that she lived in the “nurse’s home” at the hospital, along with lots of other young students. I got a kick out of reading about one of her colleagues, a young woman named Jen who came from Stornoway. I was just in Stornoway, a picturesque town in northern Scotland, just a few months ago. Brookes hadn’t known where Stornoway was until she befriended Jen.

The nurse’s home was basically a dorm. The students were paid a pittance, and Dawn Brookes soon discovered that her desire to have fun and eat well was eating up too much of her pay. She loved living in London, though, and found it easy to find shifts at agencies, which paid well and helped her supplement her income. Brookes also enjoyed smoking, but after working at the chest hospital, she discovered what happens when people smoke too much and eventually gave up the habit.

Included in the second volume are stories about some of Brookes’ more memorable patients, people with lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, and those who needed complicated surgeries. Brookes doesn’t go into deep detail about any of these cases; she mainly includes anecdotes that kind of scratch the surface. Some of the anecdotes are funny, and some are poignant and sad. She includes stories about some of her more memorable teachers, including one who berated her for considering taking a better paid job at a private hospital. Brookes explains that the London Chest Hospital had taken her on, even though she hadn’t really met their usual requirements. But her teachers said she had “ward sister” potential– again, kind of a mystery for most of us American readers– but I guess that means they spotted her leadership potential.

I thought this book was a decent read, though once again, I was left surprised by a very abrupt ending and an invitation to read book 3, which I started last night. Most of my comments about this book are the same as they were for the first book. There’s some terminology that may be unfamiliar to those who aren’t from Britain, although if you are inclined to look up words you don’t know, that could be educational. I wasn’t prepared for the ending to come as soon as it did. I guess that’s a hazard of reading on Kindle rather than an actual book. Nurses may find this a fun read, particularly those from Britain who may have some understanding of context. Brookes seems like a very nice person and her “voice” is pleasing. I just think she’d have done better with an editor who could help make her books flow more and end more gently. Still, if you’ve read the first book, I think the second one is also worth the effort.

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book reviews

A review of My Mother, the Psychopath: Growing up in the shadow of a monster

Before I get too cranked up with today’s book review, I want to express appreciation to my mom, who is most definitely NOT a psychopath. The older I get, the more I appreciate her… and the fact that she doesn’t have an overwhelming need to control me, especially since my father passed. If you have a parent who isn’t a control freak, you may feel even more appreciation for him or her after reading Olivia Rayne’s book, My Mother, the Psychopath: Growing up in the shadow of a monster. I have known people whose mothers were much too controlling and did horrible, cruel things to their children. As difficult as it is to grow up, especially nowadays, I think it must be so much harder when one of your parents is toxic and downright cruel. Now… with that out of the way, on with today’s book review.

I’m not sure what exactly possessed me to download Olivia Rayne’s book about her psychopath mother, which was released in January 2019. I love true stories. I am fascinated by psychology. I’ve also been close to people with overcontrolling parents with psychological problems. Indeed, my father was an alcoholic, and his problems with alcoholism brought out some control freak tendencies in him and my mom, who was mostly trying to keep things functional. They also brought out a tendency in them to be neglectful. However, after reading My Mother, the Psychopath, I feel pretty damned fortunate. My parents never tried to sabotage me in any way. They never harassed me with constant phone calls, emails, and texts. They didn’t become involved in my love life, nor did they encourage me to be involved with a psychopath. They were happy when I succeeded, and they were supportive when I needed help, even if they were sometimes reluctant to help me.

Olivia Rayne did not have a good mother. Her mom, a French artist named Josephine, was downright poisonous. Far from the nurturing, caring, kind person a mom is stereotypically supposed to be, Josephine was the mother from hell. In her book, My Mother, the Psychopath, twenty-something Olivia describes growing up with a mom who did cruel things almost on a whim. Josephine was cunning, charming, beautiful, and elegant. She could sell ice to Eskimos if the mood suited her. But underneath that gorgeous, exciting, and charismatic exterior was a woman who did everything she could to destroy her daughter, short of killing her.

Josephine was married to Olivia’s British father, Clive, a man who meekly tolerated his wife’s ridiculous shenanigans. Although Olivia apparently saw him as the saner, less abusive parent, Clive was complicit in his wife’s abuse of their only daughter by supporting her when she decided on a whim to move to different countries around Europe– from Martinique to England to Germany to France to Monaco, Olivia was moved whenever her mother decided she needed a fresh start. Olivia would lose her friends, lose ground in her schoolwork in different countries as the requirements and languages were different, and her sense of familiarity within her environment. Her mother would give her things– a new puppy or a pond full of wildlife– only to take them away. The puppy would be rehomed in just months. The pond and all of the wildlife within it would be destroyed by liquid soap in the water placed there by a mother who couldn’t stand to see her daughter attached to anything besides her.

When Olivia grew older and had more of a say over her life, her mother would continue to try to control her. She’d sabotage her schoolwork by forcing sudden, drastic moves. She’d call up her co-workers and bosses at different jobs, accusing her of being in trouble with the police for stealing or even being unsafe around children. She’d tell outrageous lies to Olivia’s friends and love interests in an attempt to get them to abandon her. There was only one boyfriend of Olivia’s that her mother approved of– Sean– a cocaine addict and dealer who was abusive, unfaithful, and prone to rages. Strangely, Josephine was supportive of Olivia’s relationship with Sean, even though Sean ran up huge debts in Olivia’s name, sold and abused cocaine, and cheated on her with many other women.

A healthy person would not stand for this kind of treatment, but when it’s delivered by a parent, and that parent has done everything in his or her power in an attempt to retard their child’s development, it becomes especially difficult to break free of the abuse. Olivia had loving relatives in her grandparents. Josephine’s French parents recognized that their daughter was toxic and cruel. Clive’s mother, Granny, was despised by Josephine, probably because she could see right through her and refused to tolerate as much of her bullshit as other people did. But it was Olivia who bore the brunt of the abuse, and it was Olivia who had to make the heartbreaking decision to go “no contact” with her own mother. Every time she thought she’d made strides toward independence, her mother would find a way to be in contact and screw everything up again.

I liked the way Olivia Rayne and her ghost writer set up this book. Each chapter begins with a symptom of psychopathy and a description of the behavior. Then the chapter would show how Josephine displayed those characteristics, all in a readable, page turning fashion. I found My Mother, the Psychopath fascinating, but it’s also well-written and insightful. I formed pictures of the people involved in the story, as well as the places Olivia described. Yes, it’s a book about a psychopath, but it’s also a hell of a compelling story. It might even make an interesting film.

Part of the reason this book was so compelling to me is that I think my husband’s ex wife is much like Josephine. Many of her behaviors are very similar and, in fact, as Bill talks to his younger daughter more and more, he’s hearing stories about what it was like for her to grow up with a mother who did her best to sabotage and control her. I must admit, since those stories have come to light, my opinion of my husband’s daughters has changed drastically. This book didn’t have much to do with my change of opinion toward my husband’s children, but it did give me another shot of empathy toward their situation. Growing up with healthy parents is hard. Growing up when one of your parents is a psychopath is much, much, harder. Every success is hard won, and every success, even if the parent did his or her best to squelch it, will be shared with the narcissistic parent, who will do their best to take all the credit. Of course, when things go wrong, that same parent will not take any responsibility at all, even if the failure is entirely due to something they did or didn’t do.

I think this is an excellent book for those who are interested in true stories, particularly if they are also interested in psychology. It’s a very good example of what happens when a child grows up with a toxic parent, although so far, Olivia’s story has a somewhat happy ending. Unfortunately, her ending is not necessarily the norm– and honestly, I can’t even say that the story has ended. She will have to stay no contact with her mom, which is very sad and will be quite difficult. As of the book’s end, Olivia had been no contact for a couple of years, but there’s no telling if she might fall into her mother’s clutches again. Psychopaths and narcissists are cunning, charming, and always angling for control. It takes a lot of will and strength to stay out of their crosshairs.

If I were rating this on a five star scale, I’d give it five stars. I think it’s a great read.

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