Ex, narcissists, royals

“All I got was a rock!”… a look at the narcissistic sense of humor, or lack thereof…

This morning, over buttermilk pancakes, bacon, and coffee, Bill and I had an interesting discussion about narcissists and their “humor”… or lack thereof. Our discussion started because I had been reading a thread about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the Recovery from Mormonism messageboard. Yesterday, someone started a thread about shunning, and how Christmas is when a lot of people get excluded from family events. And, in what appeared to me to be a rather one-sided take on the Prince Harry/Meghan Markle situation, the person pointed out that a lot of people are going to be treated badly by their families this holiday season.

Since Harry has a book coming out, and Meghan and Harry have just dropped their Netflix series, a lot of people are buzzing about them. Some people have seen the series and said it was very boring and rehashed. Others have come away with a renewed sense of sympathy for the couple, who are now outside of the British Royal Family, seemingly “shunned”. Someone else started a thread likening their situation to having left a “cult”– referring to British Royal Family as the cult.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to the viewpoint that Meghan Markle has been that badly treated. She probably has suffered due to the press, and she probably has experienced racism. But I don’t think she’s been a complete angel, and the constant complaining about how Harry’s very famous and established family members have treated her is getting pretty tiresome… at least to me. It’s hard to feel sorry for an attractive, healthy couple living in a beautiful mansion in a very expensive and exclusive part of the United States. Because they are rich and famous, they have a platform, and they haven’t hesitated to use and abuse it to their hearts’ content. A lot of the regular folks living in the real world are about tapped out on Harry and Meghan’s sad tale of woe, even if there is some truth to their story.

I’ve mentioned before that Meghan makes my “cluster B chimes” go off. I don’t know her at all, and it’s possible that I’ve completely misread her. However, I have found that my instincts are usually pretty accurate when it comes to spotting behavior that is self-centered and narcissistic. I don’t know enough about Meghan Markle to comment on her sense of humor. I know that she tries hard to present herself as a kind, considerate, loving person, even if there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that she’s not really like that. But honestly, I don’t know… all I know is that I get a lot of familiar vibes that tell me she’s probably not a very funny person… at least not when it comes to humor that isn’t at someone else’s expense. I did notice, for instance, that she Meghan had Mariah Carey on her Archetypes podcast, and Mariah said that Meghan gave off “diva vibes”, Meghan seemed unamused. She didn’t laugh and say, “you’re right, Mariah.” She later clarified the “diva vibes” as something powerful and positive, when that clearly wasn’t what Mariah meant. Mariah owns being a diva. Meghan doesn’t.

As we were talking about Meghan and Harry, we somehow got on the subject of the narcissistic sense of humor, or lack thereof. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to spot a narcissist is to observe whether or not they can take a joke, and what they find funny. And, I suddenly remembered some of the best examples of the narcissistic sense of humor I’ve seen in my lifetime.

I’ve mentioned before that when Bill went to Iraq, he had the burden of serving with a very narcissistic boss who used to make humiliating jokes at Bill’s expense. During their sixth month stint in Iraq, he’d send me pictures of Bill, literally buried up to his neck in paperwork and make jokes about his work or even his physical stature. I remember at one point, he referred to Bill as a “welterweight”. Later, Bill told me that his boss used to laugh at his “nasty artistic streak” that needed to be “quashed”. When he found out I’d served in the Peace Corps, he had a good laugh, because he saw it as a “wimpy” and “woke” thing to do. I’ll bet he wouldn’t have enjoyed the living conditions I experienced over there. He also implied that another soldier’s wife was stupid because she didn’t catch his “humor”, quipping to Bill “Your wife would have gotten [the joke] right away.” He tried to ingratiate himself to me, telling me that Bill missed me very much. I totally could see that he missed me, on so many levels, mainly because every week he would call me from Baghdad and tell me about how much his boss reminded him of Ex.

A few years later, this very same colonel, who had been slated to pin on as a brigadier general, was very publicly fired for abusing troops. There was a huge expose about it in which his behavior was described in detail. I can no longer find the whole article, since it was published in 2011. But I have found snippets of it, such as the quotes below:

Bill often told me about how his boss enjoyed humiliating people in front of their peers. He thought it was “funny” to embarrass his soldiers, while they were in a war zone. When Bill went to Iraq with this man, it was both of their first times at war. The boss wasn’t running a brigade that time, so Bill got most of the abuse. I was very angry when I heard about it, because it seems to me that being in a war zone is hard enough without some asshole boss getting their kicks out of belittling and humiliating their underlings. But because it was just Bill in this situation, he didn’t feel that he could speak up about it on his own behalf. A couple of his “brothers in arms” spoke up instead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop Bill’s ex boss from leading a brigade in Iraq and abusing them. And, like most malignant narcissists, he had a very embarrassing and public fall. We see the same thing happening to Donald Trump right now… as he pitches his ridiculous NFTs.

Then I remembered Halloween 2021, when I read about the costume Ex’s teenaged son with “severe autism” wore to go trick or treating. Ex is a big fan of children’s movies from the 70s and 80s, as well as child friendly characters. I know she is a great lover of all things Peanuts. In fact, Bill has told me that she reminds him a lot of Lucy Van Pelt, especially when she offers to hold a proverbial football to be kicked.

Well, Ex’s son, who is reportedly non-verbal, wore a Peanuts themed costume in 2021. Ex dressed him up like Charlie Brown. Not as the usual Charlie Brown with the striped shirt, but in the ghost costume Charlie Brown wore. If you’ve seen It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, then you probably know that Charlie Brown famously got rocks for Halloween. And his ghost costume was full of holes.

Looking at the images on Google, I can see that this isn’t a particularly original idea. A lot of people dress up in a Charlie Brown style ghost costume on Halloween. The difference is, they probably chose that costume themselves and understand the snarky humor behind it. Ex’s son, from what I’ve heard, is not quite at that level of thinking. I wrote about this incident last year, and in my post from November 2021, I noted:

Ex dressed her son up like Charlie Brown on Halloween. He carried a sign that said something along the lines of, “All I got was a rock.” Ex wrote that people didn’t seem to get the joke. That’s probably a good thing, when you consider that she was parading her apparently severely autistic son around– a boy who is supposedly “non-verbal” and may never live on his own– as Charlie Brown, the butt of everyone’s jokes who can’t make a simple ghost costume and always gets rocks from his neighbors.

I doubt that Ex’s son came up with the “joke”. I think this was something Ex dreamed up and decided to have a little fun at her son’s expense. And while some people probably didn’t get the context of Charlie Brown wearing a holey ghost costume and getting rocks from his neighbors on Halloween, others probably thought the costume was in extremely poor taste. I continued in last year’s post:

As I mentioned before… I have never met her son. I don’t know what level of functioning he’s attained. She did publicly state that he was capable of uttering a carefully rehearsed line to anyone who asked about his costume– “I had some trouble with the scissors.” She implied that it took some time to teach him that line, which makes me wonder if there are issues with his intellect. But again, I don’t know. I do think it’s kind of strange to publicly declare so much love for a child, but then dress him up as an obvious “loser” for Halloween, laugh at the spectacle of it, and then tweet it publicly. Maybe Ex thinks of it as “harmless fun.” And, to her, it surely is– maybe it also is to strangers who don’t know anything about her or her children. For the boy, I’m not as sure… If he gets the joke and agrees with it, okay. But if he doesn’t get it, and has just been unwittingly made the butt of a joke– scoring laughs for his mother at his own expense– maybe not.

See… this is the kind of “humor” I’m referring to when I reference “narcissistic humor”. It’s belittling, sarcastic, mean-spirited, and rude. Some people find that kind of humor funny. And for some folks who have narcissistic bents, it’s the ONLY kind of humor they find funny or understand. I went into a lot more detail about this situation in last year’s post, but the one other thing I want to reiterate for this one is that what makes the Charlie Brown costume so insidiously offensive is that the slight isn’t obvious. It’s a subtle dig. If she’d been more obvious– say put her son in blackface or some other obviously offensive costume– that would have put a lot of negative attention on her. But with the Charlie Brown ghost costume, she can be mean, but not seem obviously so. It’s not cool to be obviously mean to someone who has severe autism, and other people would call her out for doing that. However, those who aren’t severely affected by autism are fair game for her meanest and most humiliating digs. That’s what she thinks is funny. Last year, I wrote:

The Charlie Brown costume is more subtly humiliating, especially for a boy who may not realize that he’s being made the object of derision by his own mother. Now… if the boy chose the costume himself and has the capacity to understand the implication of wearing it, okay. But I doubt he does or did… I think, once again, Ex used someone else to get her jollies… to make herself feel better for what, apparently, hasn’t turned out to be the fantastic life she envisioned for herself.

Dr. Les Carter made a great video about this subject. If you would like to learn more about narcissistic style humor, I would highly recommend that you watch this video. As almost all of Les Carter’s videos are, it’s very insightful.

Dr. Les Carter talks about narcissistic humor.
Piers Morgan is pretty narcissistic himself, but I enjoyed hearing his guest talk about Meghan’s “Hallmark card” wisdom. I’ve seen the same thing in Ex’s platitudes on Twitter and Instagram. And I’ve seen very little humor.

Well, that about does it for today’s blog post. It’s still extremely cold here in Germany, but at least the sun has come out. Tomorrow, the temperatures are supposed to rise, so maybe that will mean Noyzi’s water bowl won’t be constantly frozen. Our neighbor has invited us over for an hour of Gluhwein this evening. Glad I have some heavy sweaters now!

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complaints, family, holidays

That “damned ham”, and our crappy Thanksgiving… Things are looking better today, though.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was not much better than Charlie Brown’s… This post is probably going to be depressing, so I offer fair warning.

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good day yesterday. Our Thanksgiving, quite frankly, kind of sucked. It’s partly my fault, I guess. Bill and I just never got around to making any concrete plans for what we were going to make for the holiday. He bought a two pound raw ham, because it’s just us, and we don’t have tons of refrigerator space. Then, as the afternoon got later, I reminded Bill that it was Thanksgiving, and he said he’d bought the ham. This was “special”, because we almost never have ham that wasn’t sliced for sandwiches at the deli. Other than that, we had our usual mashed potatoes and peas, and no rolls, gravy, special dessert or anything.

That “damned ham” wasn’t that great. It had kind of a gray look to it, which gave me the willies. I’m used to ham that is pink. But it turned out the ham wasn’t spoiled or anything. I’m just not used to having one that isn’t cured. It was a bit dry and tasteless. I would have preferred roasted duck or chicken, I guess. Oh well.

Last year, we ordered our Thanksgiving dinner from a local restaurant that caters to Americans. This year, we didn’t see their ad for the dinner until it was too late to order. I also remember that last year, we had leftovers forever. Even half a turkey is too much for us to finish on our own, and it came with a bunch of sides. The food was delicious, but way more than enough for us.

I used to really enjoy cooking and was good at it, but Bill kind of took over that task some years ago. And he’s been working a lot and, I guess, was kind of tired and didn’t think to do anything particularly special yesterday. Neither of us really thought about what we should do for the holiday. He looked so tired last night that I suggested ordering sushi or something, but he said he wanted to cook the ham. So he did… At least the wine was good. We had an Amarone from Tuscany.

And we later had a talk that was kind of like this… Bill will probably never live down that “damned ham”, which wasn’t salty at all…

Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. I used to love visiting my extended family in Virginia, hanging out with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and beloved Granny. Now, a number of aunts and uncles and my Granny are dead, and we have a pandemic going on that’s gotten worse. A number of Christmas markets were set to start and had even gotten their kiosks set up, only to be canceled at the last minute thanks to COVID-19… and then our Thanksgiving meal was like any other meal on any other night.

It’s not even so much the lack of special food that was disappointing… I guess what disappointed me was that it was like any other day. I miss seeing people and doing fun things, like going out to eat in restaurants. Things had been slightly more normal in the warmer months, but now that winter is approaching, the weather is grey, damp, and depressing; it’s cold; and everywhere in Europe is locking down again.

We thought about going to lunch, but we were waiting for a package to get here, and German delivery drivers don’t often just leave packages like they do in the States. Then, Bill was supposed to have a session with his therapist, but the therapist canceled because he was sick. So we just hung out at home, like we would on any other Thursday. All my friends were posting pictures of their family gatherings and food on Facebook. And there we were with that “damned ham”.

Here in Germany, authorities are starting to implement a new system that requires even vaccinated people to get tested before they can go anywhere. It seems like too much of a pain in the ass to me, so we just skip it and stay home. And well… it just kind of sucks. The 2G+ system isn’t required everywhere– yet… but we’re also getting to the end of our vaccination efficacy, and some of Bill’s co-workers are getting boosters. I guess we’ll be getting ours soon, too.

To look on the bright side, at least we didn’t eat too much, didn’t get indigestion, don’t have tons of leftovers, and had a minimal mess to clean up. We won’t be gaining any weight. It was also nice to be with Bill yesterday, as it always is. He’s my favorite person. I was just kind of disappointed, I guess. Thanksgiving really is just another day in Germany. I think I’m missing home a little bit, too, even though holidays with my family can turn into an emotional minefield.

In 2014, I went to Virginia for what has, so far, been my last Thanksgiving at home. We went because my dad died that year, and we had a memorial for him. While we were there, I talked to my Uncle Carl, who sadly passed away about six weeks later. He had leukemia. But during that visit, he was still alive and we talked about a tenant who was living in a spare apartment he owned. He was talking about how he was trying to help him. As we were talking, my Uncle Bill approached and said to Carl, “That guy who is living in your apartment is a P.O.W.”

I looked up at Uncle Bill in confusion and he said, “Piece of work.” Apparently, the tenant who was living in my uncle’s spare apartment was not paying rent. However, he kept the apartment spotless. Carl wanted to help him because the tenant had a girlfriend who was pregnant. She was getting welfare assistance, so they couldn’t live together. Carl’s wife, Betty, couldn’t stand the tenant and was barely civil to him. Betty, also, has sadly passed on, as she was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease at the time. Carl had been taking care of her until he got cancer. I’m so glad I was able to go home that year. Carl spoke at my dad’s memorial service. But it wasn’t much longer before Carl had a memorial service of his own, which of course I couldn’t attend.

I remember thinking, the last time I was “home” for Thanksgiving, that that would be the last time I saw some of the people who attended that year. I was right about that. In 2015 alone, I lost three uncles. By 2019, I’d lost an aunt and another uncle. Last year, I lost a cousin and my father-in-law. And in 2020, there was no Thanksgiving shindig, thanks to COVID-19, which continues to fuck things up in 2021, even though we have vaccines and new medications.

Even as I feel this “ennui”– which is pretty normal for me, because I often get a little depressed and nutty during the holiday season– I realize that I probably shouldn’t feel this way, since we are actually pretty fortunate. We did, after all, just have a fabulous trip to Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia, and we managed to do it before everything started shutting down again. But then I remind myself that feelings are just feelings. They usually pass. It’s not helpful to feel guilty for being sad.

We went to bed at our usual time last night. I had a vivid dream that involved an online friend of mine and occasional blog reader and commenter named Andrew. I dreamt that Bill and I took over a mini amusement park Andrew and his wife started. It was built into the side of a mountain, and there were train tracks around it. They had also lived in the park, which was all indoors. I remember that as Bill and I took it over, I had resolved to start slowly, building one attraction at a time, so we wouldn’t get overwhelmed. We had just built the carousel when I woke up.

Then, this morning, Bill gave me some news about his daughter. A couple of months ago, he remarked that she was “glowing” during their Skype session. I made an offhand comment that she was probably pregnant. Well… last night, they made the announcement. It’s funny, since I have only met her in person once, and didn’t actually see her on that Skype session where she was “glowing”. I usually don’t hang around when they chat. But when Bill mentioned the glowing look in September, I had a feeling she was about to expand her family. Guess my instincts were dead on again. Then, Bill gave me a cup of coffee and a Berliner that he got from the local bakery. That was better than that damned ham…

Anyway… enough of my whinging. Bill is working from home today. I am washing all the bedding, which is always a treat at bedtime. I love having fresh, clean sheets on a bed. And we do have much to be grateful for, like the fact that we have each other, plenty of food, and the means to put fresh sheets on the bed. At least we’re not in prison, right? There’s fresh hope for 2022, as Bill looks forward to becoming a grandfather again. And we can always have a special meal. Maybe we’ll go out for one this weekend, or even make one at home. Bill likes cooking with me… but I don’t like cooking with him. I’m not much of a team player. 😉

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