condescending twatbags, narcissists, stupid people, videos, YouTube

The “Karen” channels: monetizing bad behavior on YouTube…

Yesterday, I got my third COVID shot. My arm is a little sore today. It was very sore yesterday, so this is an improvement. The sore arm is really the only side effect I’ve had, other than being a little chilled yesterday. I’m not sure if that was a result of the vaccine or a cold house. We turned up the heat and I felt better. My third shot, like the first two, was a Moderna vaccine. I wrote about the whole sordid experience on the travel blog yesterday. The one thing I learned is that the COVID lifestyle seems to have eroded my social skills.

After my vaccination “ordeal”, I came home and got in bed, which had nice, fresh sheets, then watched a couple of videos by my favorite YouTubers… and somehow, I ended up on a channel called Xenoshot. This channel features videos about people behaving badly in public. The guy who narrates the videos sounds like he’s channeling Donald Trump, complete with a disinterested, snarky, kind of snooty quality to his voice. To be honest, that vocal quality kind of turned me off, mainly because I think Donald Trump is the ultimate “Karen”.

I will admit, however, that a few of his videos are kind of interesting and entertaining… Like, for instance, the one below. I was especially glad to see it was about a man– I guess the male “Karens” are called “Kevins”. I have not made it a secret that I don’t like the trend of hijacking perfectly good given names to describe bad behavior. But I can’t deny that the woman in the below video got herself hooked up with a pretty terrible asshole. I would call him an asshole, though, not a “Kevin”.

She’s a pretty woman… she doesn’t need to give this guy another chance. What a psycho. He even got his mom to call.

I have noticed that most of this guy’s videos feature obnoxious women behaving badly. Below is one of the first videos I happened to see when it came on autoplay.

Actually, this makes me glad I’m not in the States. I think this behavior happens more often there than here.

The video below brought back flashbacks of my childhood in Virginia… not so much because of the yelling, but because of what the woman is wearing. Ugh… what a nightmarish situation. I would hate to have to live next to someone who acts like this. I don’t like neighbor (or landlady) drama.

This makes me want to move out to the woods. This one includes a lot of profanity.

Xenoshot’s channel led to other channels with similar content. I was suddenly reminded of my Italian friend Vittorio’s many frequent comments about the “weird-o-rama” culture in the United States. I’m sure that a lot of Germans would find this content amusing, but I can’t imagine a lot of people here acting like this here. For one thing, you can get in a lot of trouble filming or photographing people without their consent here.

And finally, there’s this lady, who called the cops because she didn’t like her son’s haircut. I like the barber, though. He seems like a nice guy. I got a kick out of his dialect. He sounds straight out of the northeast.

I can’t listen to too many of Xenoshot’s videos, mainly because his deadpan delivery is a turnoff. But, so is the channel’s content, which reminds me of just how out of control some people are in the United States. It also reminds me of how out of touch I’ve become with my own culture.

Seriously… I remember being in Europe the first time and feeling offended when Vittorio would comment on how strange the United States is. Now that I’ve been in Europe for seven years, I can totally understand how he came to that conclusion. And just to put things in perspective, Vittorio is a naturalized American and lived there for about 25 years. He moved back to Europe some time ago and married a German woman. I say, good on him for doing that. To be sure, Europe has its problems, but I can definitely relate to those who think the USA has a very odd culture compared to the rest of the world. It’s like a non-stop shit show.

I know for a fact that there are “Karen” types in Germany… even though I would never call them “Karens”. However, this is not behavior I see very often anymore. It actually makes a me a little scared of the prospect of moving back home someday.

So I think I’ll go mine for more mindless YouTube content…

Incidentally, I read that Jenna Ryan– Karen extraordinaire at last year’s insurrection– turned herself in to prison in Bryan, Texas on December 21, 2021. She’s already done a little over two weeks of her two month sentence. But she couldn’t enter prison without making a ridiculous comment comparing the treatment of “rioters” to treatment of Jews in Germany (I’m assuming during the 1940s). She whined:

“They’re making fun of my skin color. They’re calling me an ‘insurrection Barbie,’” she said.

“They have no idea who I am as a person, what my beliefs are, what I’ve been through, who I am,” she added. “They see me as a one-dimensional caricature. They don’t see me as a human.” 

“And so, that is the epitome of a scapegoat. Just like they did that to the Jews in Germany. Those were scapegoats. And I believe that people who are Caucasian are being turned into evil in front of the media.”

Are you serious, Jenna? Really?!

I’m all for trying to keep things in perspective when it comes to how the media spins a story. I am definitely against “mob mentality”. I don’t like “cancel culture”, and I totally believe that people should be allowed to redeem themselves. But Jenna repeatedly says and does ridiculous things, and justifies her very bad behavior. She is a very obvious narcissist, and narcissists are not good people.

What a dumbass.

I remember when Jenna Ryan made the news last year. She was promoting herself and her business very openly, as she also openly broke the law. And she and thousands of her Trump supporting “friends” did their best to overthrow the 2020 election results. Donald Trump LOST the election. He deserved to lose. And Jenna and her ilk had absolutely NO right to go against the will of the majority to try to keep him in office. She deserves to be in prison for what she did. It was a bad choice, and she should stop justifying her bad decision and the consequences that came out of it.

Comparing her situation to anything resembling what Jewish people in Europe faced 80 years ago is beyond ludicrous. Liberals haven’t been violently rounding up conservative voters and jailing or imprisoning them, simply for who they were, or their political or religious beliefs. They have been arrested and, in some cases, incarcerated, because they broke laws and put people in danger. And then I think back to what she said during her “two minutes” in the Capitol…

“You guys, will you believe this?” Ryan said on Facebook Live while inside the Capitol, according to the sentencing memo. “I am not messing around. When I come to sell your house, this is what I will do. I will fucking sell your house.”

Does this sound like someone who believes deeply in preserving the Constitution and maintaining the integrity of the election system? It doesn’t to me. Sounds like someone trying to make some money… and maybe a name for herself. She succeeded in making a name for herself, at least.

And then, according to NBC News:

On the Capitol steps, she declared that she was “tired of paying taxes” to “crooks,” prosecutors said in the memo. But she has not consistently paid her taxes over the years, according to the memo, and at the time owed $35,000 in back taxes. (She settled her debt in April.)

That doesn’t not even remotely sound like someone who cares about being a law abiding citizen. She’s just upset because she’s being held accountable and, rightly, is stuck in the federal jug for a few more weeks. She’s at a minimum security facility, too.

Was getting this photo worth it?

I won’t be surprised if Jenna doesn’t try to profit off her prison experience. She’ll probably write a book or something. People like her have no shame whatsoever. I’m sure she’s not 100 percent terrible. Few people are that awful. But I will say that in the year since I’ve “known” her name, she has shown incredibly bad behavior, extreme entitlement, some shockingly poor judgment and immense self-absorption. I truly hope she learns from her prison stint, but I have very slim expectations.

Anyway… I’m grateful that I don’t feel too poorly today. I usually vacuum on Thursdays, but I think I might wait until Saturday, which is when I plan to take down the Christmas trees. That will be messy, and I will need to get the vacuum out anyway, since the process of taking the trees down always results in dropped “needles” everywhere. And since vacuuming is basically a waste of time, I might as well save up my energy. Also, my arm does hurt a bit. Not a lot, mind you… and not as much as it did yesterday, but it is pretty sore. So I think I’ll fuck off and move on with the day. By tomorrow, I expect to be back to my old curmudgeonly self.

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Duggars, religion

The Transformed Wife says Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are “very good parents”…

Before I get started with today’s post, let me state upfront that I don’t regularly follow “The Transformed Wife”, aka Lori Alexander. I do occasionally write about some of the dumb things she posts on social media, especially when they get people especially spun up in tizzies. I have a pretty high tolerance for stupid postings, though, so it’s not that often that I feel moved to opine about Lori’s commentary. I understand that she probably believes the stuff she writes, but I think most of it is laughable, and I generally don’t see the need to give her a platform.

I’m writing about her today because yesterday someone in the Duggar Family News group decided to do a little trolling on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page. She asked Lori Alexander what she thought of the Duggar parents. I can’t find the specific post in question, but Lori– true to form– was quick to block the rabble rouser. But then she posted this…

There are no “perfect” parents, true… but I don’t think I would call Ma and Pa Duggar “very good parents”.

Lori Alexander explains that Josh Duggar “made his own choices”, and Jim Bob and Michelle shouldn’t be blamed for Josh’s choices. Well yes, Josh is an adult and he did make his own choices. But there were many signs, when he was still years before adulthood, that he needed significant help. At the very least, his siblings needed to be protected from him. Didn’t we hear Jim Bob say to Megyn Kelly that Josh had come to Jim Bob and Michelle in tears and told them what he had done to his sisters? Wouldn’t this be a sign that Josh needed assistance with a big problem? But they did nothing effective to address this issue.

This interview was full of untruths and half truths. I remember watching it in June 2015 and stating that the Duggar parents were lying through their teeth. I remember a now former Facebook friend taking me to task for stating that this interview was full of bullshit. Based on the results of this week, I was right.

In the above interview, Jim Bob and Michelle said that all of the children had professional counseling. They also said that Josh paid for his own counseling. We now know from Justin’s and Julia’s podcast that Josh just got his head shaved, and his “very good parents” sent him to do hard labor for a family friend for a few months. The “professional counseling” certainly didn’t come from a licensed mental health professional. It came via a stern lecture from a former cop, who is now in prison himself as a sex offender, and interrogations from religious leaders. Jim Bob also said that Josh touched the girls over their clothes while they were sleeping. Also, clearly untrue. Then at the sixteen minute mark, Jim Bob and Michelle explicitly state that their son isn’t a pedophile (or, more accurately, a child molester), but transgender people who want to use restrooms that apply to their genders are deviants who automatically put women and children at risk. Where was their concern for their daughters, who were clearly at risk with their sexually deviant brother still living at home?

The hypocrisy is astonishing.

But… I think the biggest sign that these two aren’t “very good parents” is that all of this stuff happened as many as 20 years ago or so, years before this family became reality TV stars. They knew their son had a problem, which allegedly began when he was as young as 12, but they chose to go on television anyway. They held themselves up as an example of an “ideal” Christian family. They got away with the deception for well over a decade before reality smacked everyone upside the head.

Then, once the truth came out, not only about Josh as a teen, but also about Josh as a philandering and sexually violent adult, Jim Bob still wanted to pimp out his adult children on reality TV! He was behind the new reality show, Counting On, which focused on the lives of his adult children who weren’t sex pests. And then he didn’t even pay them for their work! One of the reasons Jill Dillard is estranged from the family is that she sued her father so that she and Derick could be paid for their contributions to Counting On. I think I read that Jill finally got the equivalent of minimum wage for her work on the show. I doubt the rest of the “kids” got a similar payment.

I think raising children to be independent is the mark of a good parent. And yet here’s Jim Bob Duggar with quite a few adult children still living in homes that he owns, working for him, and completely dependent on him for their livelihoods, which he apparently doles out as he alone sees fit. The adults who are still being supported by Jim Bob are certainly not free to voice their opinions, and they must be loyal to Jim Bob or risk being cut off financially and shunned by the rest of the family. The adult children who have managed to be independent are somewhat on the fringes of the family, which now seems like the better place to be. But it also means that the youngest children don’t get exposure to their more independent siblings and in-laws, who might show them the possibilities of life beyond the Duggar compound.

So… while I agree with Lori that there are no “perfect parents”, I also think that there’s ample evidence to suggest that Jim Bob and Michelle are anything but “very good parents”. In fact, I think it’s pretty shameful that they did all they could to protect golden boy Josh from facing the consequences of his despicable actions, yet marginalize their daughters, Jill and Jinger, who were not only Josh’s victims, but were also smart enough to marry educated men and get the fuck away from Jim Bob’s toxic influence and control!

I’m sure if I really felt like it, I could sit here and think of all of the crazy stuff that has been said and done by this family over the years they’ve been on the airwaves. I can think of all of the fucked up and bizarre parenting and discipline techniques and methods I’ve seen on their show. Let’s put it this way. Before the Duggars were a thing, I didn’t know what “blanket training” was. I didn’t know the significance of the word “Nike!” (having the guys look at their shoes when a woman showing too much skin walked by– it obviously didn’t work). Outside of the film, Carrie, I had never heard of a prayer closet, nor did I know anything about Bill Gothard, or the wacko beliefs in the Gothard cult. I’ll admit, it’s all interesting stuff to me, or I wouldn’t read and write about it so much. But I don’t know that the Duggar family has contributed much to making America great again.

In fact, just last night, the news broke that eldest daughter, Jana Duggar is also in trouble with the law. In September, she was issued a summons for reckless endangerment of a child. She’s due in court next month. I don’t know the specifics of Jana’s case, but I do think that she probably wouldn’t have gotten into trouble with the law if there weren’t so many babies and children in the Duggar household that need constant supervision. And, if you’ve followed this show at all, you know that Michelle Duggar routinely handed off her babies to her eldest daughters to raise. Now that Michelle is a granny, the grandchildren are apparently being minded by Aunt Jana.

It’s certainly true that the adult children “make their own choices”, but they were not raised in an environment where they had a lot of one on one time with their parents. In fact, they were mostly raised on camera, which is definitely not the ideal place for a person to grow up healthy. Childhood is a time when people should be free to make and learn from mistakes. It’s a time when people should be protected and nurtured. I see little evidence that the Duggar parents did a lot of nurturing. How could they? They were always on TV, and they were always focused on having the next child– a “gift from God”– who would inevitably be passed to an older female sibling to raise.

I do think that Jim Bob and Michelle should share in the blame for what has happened. For years, we’ve watched them try to build a fundie Christian “empire” of sorts. Jim Bob’s blockheaded behavior was passed off as almost endearing. He was seen as a “protective dad”. But now, I see him as possessive and autocratic. Below is a quote from People Magazine in 2015:

“Jim Bob’s favorite word is ‘no,’ ” a family source tells People. “He’s like a dictator. He once saw a guy kissing a girl before marriage and confronted him about it. And the guy said, ‘Jim Bob, show me that verse in the Bible that says we can’t kiss. Get out your Bible.’ And Jim Bob was like, ‘Uhhhh …’ because no one ever confronts Jim Bob. No one.

Adds a second source: “Jim Bob calls the shots. Always has and always will.”

In this wedding video, at around the 42 minute mark, you can see Jim Bob Duggar actually LEAD Ben Seewald by the necktie, as if he’s a dog, because the tie is wrinkled. Look at Ben’s face. He appears to be humiliated. And if he doesn’t take off the tie, he will literally have to bow down to Jim Bob while it gets ironed.

So, even if someone tried to speak up to Jim Bob about what was obviously going wrong, he would have shut them down, cut them out, and gotten any mutual associates to disassociate with them. Jim Bob even displayed his arrogant and dictatorial attitudes at Josh’s trial. When he was asked about Josh’s admissions regarding victimizing his sisters and their babysitter, Jim Bob repeatedly said he couldn’t remember. And then he objected to the line of questioning. Jim Bob said to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, “I’m not going to allow it, are you going to allow for that?”

Judge Brooks, to his credit, replied “If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won’t be you.”

Every time negative press came out about Josh, the Duggars would either deny that anything was wrong, or they would write “pretty” statements for the media, condemning Josh’s “choices”. Below is the statement Jim Bob and Michelle posted about Josh’s “actions” in 2015:

“As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.”

In spite of Jim Bob’s “dictatorial” behavior, Josh still made “choices” that insulted the family. Instead of ostracizing him, as he and Michelle have done to a couple of their daughters, Jim Bob was all about supporting Josh, minimizing his sins, and doing everything he could to try to shield him from the inevitable consequences of his perverse actions. Instead of protecting his daughters and other innocent women, Jim Bob got his son married off to Anna when Josh was just 20 years old. Obviously, they needed to get him out of their home and find him a nice, meek, docile woman who would give him a socially and politically acceptable outlet for his obsessions. Anna Duggar was used, and has no doubt been abused. And unless she takes decisive action, the abuse will continue, only she’ll be a single mom of seven enduring it, and will probably have a lot of dealings with CPS.

How sick… If anything, this is a sign that maybe practicing fundie Christianity isn’t the best way to live life. Especially if you want to be “very good parents”.
At best, this is a half truth. It wasn’t the Duggar home that was raided. However, clearly Josh was investigated, and Jim Bob knew damned well he was. Again– it’s not very Christ-like of him to lie, nor is he setting a good example for his children.
Okay, Jim Bob… what about your son? Would you like to see him executed for his crimes against women and children? And given your track record as a parent, do you really think you should be representing people in the community?

Now, if you’re the type of person who prays for others, I see nothing wrong with praying for the Duggar family, as Lori Alexander suggests. I don’t even see anything wrong with praying for Josh. I think he needs all the help he can get to redeem himself. Like it or not, he’s still someone’s brother, son, father, and husband, and I don’t generally take joy in wishing extreme suffering on others. So I don’t wish for Josh to be dead or beaten up in prison. I read this morning that he’s being held in solitary confinement for his own protection. The jail where Josh is being held is “notorious” for “inmate on inmate alleged sexual assaults“. As a white “Christian” man from a wealthy, famous family, who has been convicted of sexual offenses against children, Josh Duggar would be a sitting duck for attacks from other inmates. So it’s probably a good decision to keep him away from other inmates. Being kept in solitary confinement will probably not be easy for him at all, but “it is what it is”.

Just to sum things up… these folks are the same people who champion Donald Trump and his ilk… and Trump is every bit as sick and dictatorial as Jim Bob is. He just doesn’t use Christianity as much to hide his obvious agenda to fulfill his need for power, prestige, wealth, and control over other people. I think Jim Bob, and men like him, see other people as betas to their alphas. They can do no wrong. They accept no responsibility. And when something does go wrong, they are always victims. It’s sick and pathetic, and these are not people who should be leading anything in any way. They certainly should NOT be involved with making laws that everyone else has to follow.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I don’t follow Lori Alexander very closely at all. I really only pay attention to her when she writes something especially outrageous. Perhaps, on the surface, the statement she’s made regarding the Duggars’ parenting isn’t all that outrageous. But if you look at the outcomes, you can see that Jim Bob and Michelle are clearly NOT good parents, nor are they very good Christians. They aren’t attentive to their children or their needs, and they certainly don’t even live by The Ten Commandments. If they had been more focused on raising and nurturing their children, they would have gotten Josh the help he required when he was still a boy. They would not have kept pumping out more children and potential abuse victims. And they would have done all of this off television and outside of politics. Just my two cents… and I figure that if the Transformed Wife can share her opinions, so can the “Overeducated” Housewife. 😉

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narcissists, poor judgment, psychology, YouTube

Gearing up for the big smear…

This morning, I watched a very interesting video by famed YouTube personality, Dr. Les Carter. I’ve written about his videos before, and I’ve reviewed two of his books. In fact, I am in the middle of reading another book by Dr. Carter that I hope to review before long. Maybe I’ll even finish it today, since the weather is dependably shitty for late fall in Germany.

The video I watched this morning is called “How Narcissists Build A Case Against You”. It’s all about the dreaded “smear campaign” that usually happens when a narcissist either wants to discard you, or get you back in line. Never forget that narcissists crave control, and they want to be in charge of the narrative, which will always be that they are never wrong, don’t make mistakes, and when something unfortunate does inevitably happen, it’s never their fault, and they are always the victim. On the exceedingly rare occasions when a narcissist takes responsibility, they will virtually always try to shift the blame somehow or make an excuse.

Really interesting viewing for a Sunday morning.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might know that Bill and I have both had our ins and outs with narcissists. Bill has had a worse time of it than I have, mainly because he has a tendency to be a people pleaser. I am not as nice as he is, so I don’t tend to attract narcissists, or if I do attract them, I turn them off pretty quickly. But because I’m Bill’s wife, I’ve had dealings with narcissists who have been attracted to him. Our most recent narcissistic dealings happened in our last town, where we were caught in an incredibly weird predicament in which our landlady and her former tenant were working together to shame us into letting the ex landlady illegally rip off our security deposit.

We were in a unique situation, because I am a blogger and I tend to be pretty open in the topics I write about. The former tenant was monitoring me, posing as someone who was actually interested in the subject matter, rather than just a common spy/flying monkey. But in retrospect, when I first met ex landlady and former tenant, I had a bad feeling. I ignored that feeling because the summer of 2014 was especially difficult for us.

Bill had retired from the Army that year, and we had been uncertain about his job prospects. Then we made an international move. My father had suddenly died, and we had somewhat fresh memories of our first move to Germany, which had involved living in a very basic and pretty horrible hotel for six weeks. We just wanted to settle somewhere and get back to a normal life. So, when we met ex landlady and former tenant, even though I noticed some things were “off” about them, I brushed those thoughts aside. A couple of months ago, we passed our anniversary of having moved into that house. I had posted on Facebook “The new landlords seem nice. Let’s hope it’s not just an act.” In retrospect, that was pretty damning… and even then, I pretty much knew that we were going to be in for a hard time.

It started off subtly and slowly, just as Les Carter describes it. Former landlady and ex tenant were both nice at first. However, I noticed from the outset that ex landlady was not trusting, and had some apparent control issues. I mostly chalked it up to the local culture. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. There was even a period during which I could even say she was likable. Former tenant had come off as a bit “oily”, selling us the stuff she didn’t want to take with her, which for all I know, was left there by former tenants. But she was otherwise basically pleasant, even if she was a bit weird about money. Bill had asked her about an energy bill and she was very adamant that it wasn’t her responsibility. Maybe it wasn’t, but her vehement reaction to his innocent question was more over the top than was necessary.

As time went on, I started making more connections and noticing things. Former landlady was becoming less reasonable. Some things went wrong in the house. I had been on the receiving end of more than one screaming tirade, rife with accusations about what an irresponsible person I was, how terrible my housekeeping is, and how they’d NEVER had problems like that before– which I don’t believe, and now know can never be true again. If ex landlady ever tells another tenant that, she will be lying. But it’s now my guess that she lied to me repeatedly, and unabashedly. Former tenant joined in the fun and games with lies of her own. A big red flag was that she’d often leave me comments on my posts, but then delete them. She didn’t want them biting her in the ass later. But she didn’t delete all of them, and her undeleted comments later came in handy.

Ex landlady’s behavior was very disrespectful and more than a bit puzzling. My husband is a well-regarded, highly responsible, and kind person. He was the one dealing with ex landlady, but she would often direct her abusive diatribes toward me. So yes, I was confused and anxious about the situation, because at first, I wondered if I really was the problem. I later realized that ex landlady was just trying to justify taking our money, and she and former tenant had both obviously learned from prior experiences that being accusatory and shaming toward “kind” people is an effective way to get what they want. And that was especially infuriating, because although landlord/tenant situations are almost always kind of awkward, we had never before been accused of the things ex landlady accused us of. Certainly not as a married couple.

The only exception for me, personally, was when I lived in Armenia and rented an apartment for about a year from a lady who had worked for the Peace Corps. As I was about to finish my Peace Corps service, she tried to accuse me of not paying her rent one month. That wasn’t true, and I could prove it, but she thought she could strong arm me into paying her for an extra month, because in those days I was a lot more easily upset than I am now. One Friday night, I came home from a night out to find her and her father waiting for me. They had let themselves into the apartment and were sitting there smoking when I came home, waiting to confront me over the month’s rent they claimed I didn’t pay. But her father came every month and I always paid him. I had proof, because I kept a daily journal and mentioned his visits. I also had receipts of the money I collected for rent from teaching English at an NGO.

She asked, “How do I know you didn’t just spend the money the NGO paid for the rent?”

But I could have asked her and her father the same thing. I gave him the money on her behalf, because she was studying in Hungary. He didn’t give me receipts, because that wasn’t how things were done at that time. How do I know what he did with the money after I paid him? The amount of rent we were discussing was just $100 a month, and she probably figured that as an American, that was chump change for me. But in those days, that was a lot of money for me, since I only got paid about $5 a day as Peace Corps Volunteer. My parents weren’t giving me money, and I didn’t have savings. And besides, she HAD been paid. She was just trying to intimidate me by shaming and humiliating me.

I think she saw me as a rich American who would simply pay her to shut her up. She did get me so upset that I hyperventilated in front of her, which made her so uncomfortable that she left. She obviously saw me as weak. But she was definitely wrong about my alleged weakness, and she did not get an extra month’s rent from me. Come to think of it, ex landlady acted a lot like my former Armenian landlady did. I heard the same complaints from both women about my housekeeping, since I’m admittedly a bit of slob.

Now, I’m not a dirty slob. I do take the trash out, wash the dishes, clean the toilets, sinks, and showers, change the sheets, mow the lawn, and pick up the dog crap (when I can see it). But I don’t dust compulsively, wash windows, vacuum every day, put my clothes away, or make my bed each morning. Ex landlady is evidently compulsively neat, and I think she was upset that I’m not like that. Former Armenian landlady had also noticed I’m not compulsively neat, because she would let herself in the apartment when I wasn’t there and let her son eat my food… and leave dirty dishes in the refrigerator, no less. If either of these women were that concerned about neatness, they should have mentioned it before agreeing to rent out their property. Or, they could have simply respected my privacy. That way, we both could have avoided heartache.

Anyway, one day, I wrote about the weird situation with ex the landlady on my old blog. It wasn’t so much that I had a habit of writing about former landlady. I would say that, until things went really south, on the rare occasions when I mentioned her, I mostly wrote positive things about her. It wasn’t until she started verbally abusing and accusing me that I wrote anything negative. But when she really started to behave offensively, I was legitimately confused and wondered about it. I mentioned it offhand in a blog post. I wrote about two or three sentences about the situation– mildly questioning and hardly accusatory, now that I think about it.

I thought about the sketchy story former tenant told us about why she and her husband were moving mid tour. They had a brand new baby, and claimed they needed to be closer to work. That, I could understand, since the house was pretty far out from the installations. But then she’d added that they needed to be closer to their babysitter, which sounded like a lame excuse. I probably would have been less suspicious of her story if she’d just said she needed to be closer to work.

At the same time, I noticed the former landlady was doting on the baby, and I knew, having been an Army wife for years, that the military typically doesn’t pay for people to move mid tour unless there’s a damned good reason, and it involves health, safety, or mission readiness. Also, she swore the landlords were “excellent” and like parents to her… and yet they couldn’t help her find a suitable local nanny so their very functional and family like business relationship could continue? Hmm…

After thinking about her story, I realized it was probably at least 95% bullshit. So I mentioned it casually in a very brief way in a blog post. I didn’t realize ex tenant was still reading the blog at that point. I didn’t even blame her for moving. Having dealt with the frequent unannounced visits and uncomfortable interactions I had with the ex landlady, I figured ex tenant had dealt with similar issues and wanted more privacy and professionalism. Nothing wrong with that.

Former tenant left me a sternly worded comment, which she later deleted, claiming that my speculation was all wrong. She shamed me for doubting her, and asked me to delete references to her involvement in our declining situation. I didn’t fight her on it, because I wasn’t wanting to argue with her. I just didn’t think things added up. But, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I knew she was concerned about her online footprint. In retrospect, I should have seen what she was doing for what it was… classic gaslighting. She was asking me to deny what I was seeing with my own eyes and knew from personal experience. She was very firm about it, and didn’t even seem to understand how I could have possibly come to the conclusions I had. But because I didn’t want a conflict with her, I allowed her to do that, and edited my post. That doesn’t mean I believed her story, or didn’t see that she was clearly up to no good.

Former tenant also claimed she didn’t want me to involve her in my speculation about what was happening. However, even though she didn’t want me to involve her by even casually mentioning her in a blog post, she was actually choosing to be involved and actively meddling in our business. She was sharing my blog with ex landlady and her daughter, and the three of them were probably gossiping and smearing the hell out of me, and coming up with ways to screw with us. She later even admitted to me that she was doing that, and was bold enough to think I would feel ashamed instead of extremely pissed off at her. She must have really taken me for a sucker. I could probably forgive her for gossiping, but having the audacity to admit it to me was a bridge too far, especially since she was so concerned about her own privacy and reputation.

The fact that she continued to monitor my blog, even years after she’d moved out of the house is a red flag, especially since she made it clear that she doesn’t like me and apparently doesn’t even think I’m a good writer. I base that last bit on the nasty private message she sent me, again shaming me for daring to object to the ex landlady’s abuse and false accusations, and the sarcastic remark she left about about my creative pursuits. If that’s how she actually felt about me and my writing, why was she still reading?

I think it’s because she wanted to deflect scrutiny from herself. I think ex landlady let her get away with not paying for damages that occurred on her watch. Ex landlady never did a check in with us, and I don’t think she did a check out with the former tenant, since we literally took the keys from her. She was still moving out as we were moving into the house. Ex tenant was likely worried that my speculations would cast doubt on her false persona as an honest and decent person, when it’s pretty clear to me that she’s a liar.

I also think that it’s possible that former tenant doesn’t respect me because, for whatever reason, she doesn’t approve of my lifestyle. I don’t have children or a regular job, so she probably thinks that makes me worthy of contempt. I suspect ex landlady agrees, and in fact, was probably put out that I was always at home, so she couldn’t come over at her leisure and snoop. More than once, she suggested things for me to do outside of the home, even though I never asked her for that kind of help. Neither of them seem to think that writing is a valuable use of my time. But I’m not sure why it matters, as long as the rent was being paid on time. What I do with my time is my concern, right? And even if someone thinks I’m a no-talent hack, shouldn’t I still be entitled to basic courtesy, respect, and privacy? Why is it their business if I write a blog? Of course now I know why they felt it was their business… but it’s pretty easy to stay out of my crosshairs if you aren’t someone who’s in the news. You leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone.

Bill and I made convenient scapegoats for the fact that the house was in desperate need of renovation. The truth is, it was not very clean when we moved in. And because there was never a check in protocol done, when we moved out, there was no way to prove we hadn’t done the damage she claimed. On the other hand, there was also no proof that we had done the damage. I also had proof that ex landlady made false and defamatory accusations against us– again, because I blog, keep journals, and take many pictures. So much for being a no-talent hack. 😉

So… Bill sued, and ended up prevailing. But the whole situation was very stressful and upsetting. It brought us no joy to pursue legal action. It was the first time Bill had ever sued anyone, and it was definitely not something he enjoyed doing. However, we felt we needed to take that action, because it was so very obvious that we were being taken for suckers. The way we were treated was absolutely terrible and completely undeserved, and we did not want to let her get away with it, for our own sakes and those of people who came after us. Even now, three years after we moved, I’m still angry about it. Those people obviously had no compunction about blatantly ripping us off and defaming us, while trying to deny us the right to respond or process. We bent over backwards to keep the peace in that situation, and we gave the ex landlady every opportunity to settle the situation fairly without involving lawyers and court. She refused to cooperate, and in the end, it cost her.

It’s a mistake to assume someone is weak and stupid simply because they are kind and sensitive, and don’t like conflict. Especially if they make their living planning military exercises, which is what Bill does. It’s literally his job to plan battles. Moreover, while I don’t have a fancy business title, I am not a stupid person, and I’ve done a lot of work over the years to get over the need to “people please”. Anyone who requires “pleasing” and constant appeasement is probably, at best, an asshole who would never return the favor. They certainly aren’t worth the effort of pleasing. For all of her spying and compulsive study of my blog posts, former tenant apparently didn’t realize that. If she’s smart, she will not engage me again. Meanwhile, I will hold on to the lessons I learned in this situation and try to recover from the blows to my psyche that occurred because of this ordeal.

I realize that most people who have dealings with narcissists deal with them on a more personal level. A lot of people get involved in romantic entanglements with narcissists. I can’t even say for sure that we were dealing with two narcissists, or just one narcissist and someone with a different kind of mental health issue. What I do think is that at least one of the people we dealt with was not behaving in a normal or businesslike manner. If that’s the way she treats people who are in a business relationship with her, I can only try to imagine the psychological beating the people who are supposed loved ones likely suffer.

One last comment before I close this post. Former tenant tried to frame a narrative that I habitually drag people through the Internet mud. It’s true that sometimes I do vent, although I very rarely name names. I don’t go out of my way to harass people. You’ll also notice that I don’t write about my current landlord. That’s because he doesn’t give me a reason to vent. He’s our next door neighbor, yet he never bothers us, and as long as he gets his rent money, he doesn’t have a need to meddle. When we eventually move out of this house, I don’t think we’ll have any issues. If we do, I have every faith that they can be settled amicably and fairly. And hopefully, the next time we move, it will be into a home that we own.

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Ex, lessons learned, mental health, narcissists, psychology

On not being alone at the narcissist’s chasm…

You might say that today’s post is a continuation of the one I wrote on Sunday. In that post, I wrote about how a new and mind blowing insight hit me as I listened to a very familiar story Bill told me about how his narcissistic ex wife made him feel. If you haven’t read that post, this post may make less sense than it could. On the other hand, maybe it will make perfect sense. The first post has some of the backstory that led to the revelation that is spawning this morning’s post… which I don’t expect everyone to care about. It just helps me to write these things down, both for reference, and because it’s kind of fascinating to me.

Next month, Bill and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. Throughout the course of our marriage, I’ve repeatedly heard the story about how Bill decided that he would agree to his ex wife’s demand for a divorce. He realized that she’d drawn a metaphorical line in the sand. She wanted him to cross it. But if Bill crossed that line, he would lose part of himself. It also would not have taken long before he was back on the wrong side of the line. Somehow, he realized that it was pointless to keep trying to appease his ex wife’s demands. He agreed to the divorce, even though it wasn’t actually what she’d wanted. What she wanted was to regain control.

Bill is a kind and sensitive man. He tries very hard to make other people happy. His ex wife was never an exception. He wanted to love her and care about her. She couldn’t, and didn’t, return the sentiment. She wasn’t driven by love. She simply wanted security and control.

In Ex’s defense, I suspect that the reason she wasn’t “driven by love” is because she grew up in a chaotic home, where she was taught lies and forced to accept abuse. Somehow, as she came of age in that home where she was never valued, she never quite matured beyond adolescence. She probably never had time to grow up, since she was probably focused on survival– or perhaps that was just the perception she had. Somehow, she never got the message that real love isn’t supposed to be a contest. It also goes both ways.

I don’t think Ex even really knows what actual love is, beyond the most primal passions and urges. Her version of love doesn’t include respect, kindness, or gentleness. It doesn’t include trust, or the ability to relax and enjoy another person for who they are. She is constantly testing people, keeping them on their toes to prove their loyalty to her. But it’s not a two-way street. She expects people to fight for her, but she won’t do the same for them, except in a bid to own them somehow.

When Ex’s victims inevitably quit trying to please her, she accuses them of abandonment… when really, they are simply exhausted and defeated. They get tired of trying to win a contest that can’t be won. In essence, they realize that they can’t cross the chasm and shouldn’t want to cross it. Crossing the chasm means losing themselves and becoming someone who isn’t authentic. They become a shell of who they are.

Last night, Bill and his younger daughter Skyped for the first time in awhile. During the discussion, Bill decided to test my theory that he was not alone at the “chasm” he had frequently described to me over the course of our relationship. He asked his daughter if she ‘dever felt like she was standing on one side of a chasm, while everyone else important to her was on the other side with Ex. Sure enough, she identified.

They talked some more, and Bill pointed out that, in Ex’s world, no one is supposed to talk to anyone else. This is especially true when there’s trouble or someone is being shunned.

It occurred to me that people in Ex’s realm are like spokes on a wheel. If you look at spokes on a wheel, you see that they all connect to the middle, but they don’t touch each other. Imagine the narcissist as the middle of the wheel and the spokes as all of the people in the narcissist’s realm. They all support the narcissist and keep the wheel turning. But if they ever touch each other, that means they’ve broken, and the narcissist gets less support, just as a wheel does. What do you do with a broken spoke in a wheel? You repair or replace it.

I have learned that no one in a narcissist’s life is indispensable. They are always looking for someone to support them. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as they’re up to the job. A spoke in a narcissist’s wheel has to be willing to focus all of its attention to the narcissist. It’s a thankless job, but crucial to the narcissist’s existence. And when the spoke inevitably bends or breaks from the pressure, it has to be replaced– discarded… or maybe repaired– punished and “re-educated”.

That’s where the nonsense about coming across the chasm comes in. The narcissist looks at the victim and says, “You don’t have be alone. All of these other people are here with me. Just do what I want you to do, and you can partake of the feast with us.”

But there is no feast… it’s all an illusion. It’s a mirage. Moreover, those people who seem to be on the narcissist’s side, are really on your side of the chasm. It’s as if you all wear blinders, forcing you to look directly across the abyss. You don’t see each other. You’re all focused on the narcissist– the center of the wheel. Somehow, the narcissist makes you think the center is where you really want to be. But the only person who can be in the center of the wheel is the narcissist. Everyone else is a spoke, and necessary to keep the narcissist’s wheel spinning. When one of you breaks, the wheel falters. Swift action must be taken to keep the wheel spinning. Otherwise, the whole thing falls apart. There is no time for a party on the other side of the chasm. There’s too much work to be done.

A good song for this… and I wish I still had this album. It’s out of print.

Why did it take me twenty years to see this? I think it’s because for so long, we didn’t have other perspectives. Many of the people in Ex’s wheel weren’t speaking to us, so we didn’t realize that she was treating them just as badly. It really did seem like Bill was being singled out as someone who wasn’t able to cross the chasm because of his perceived (and falsely attributed) character defects. I think we eventually assumed others were being mistreated, but we didn’t know for sure, because no one was communicating with us, except Bill’s mom. And Bill’s mom was probably the first one to get to the edge of the chasm, because she was the first one to threaten Ex’s perceived position of authority. Ex did her very best to separate Bill from his mother. When that didn’t work, she cast out Bill, too, and led them both to believe that they were awful people. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is, in Ex’s world, everyone is defective. She, on the other hand, can do no wrong. Or, if she does do wrong, it’s only because people mistreated her. She’s “owed” the right to be an asshole, because other people were assholes to her. By that logic, being a narcissistic asshole is like a contagious disease– maybe we could even call it “narcissistic COVID”. Of course, Ex would never agree that other people have the right to mistreat her, even though she mistreats them.

Actually, the wheel metaphor isn’t new to me. That thought occurred to me at least ten years ago. I realized that Ex had all of these people working so hard to do her bidding. I wondered why people were so concerned with keeping her satisfied. Of course, now I know that I was on the outside of the wheel. I wasn’t a spoke. She tried to make me one of her spokes when she invited me to my own in-laws’ house for Christmas in 2004. I refused, which made me too dangerous to interact with the family. So she did what she could to lessen my influence and make me out to be a “bad person”. She told egregious lies about me and Bill, and she compelled Bill’s daughters, ex stepson, and even tried to compel his parents to cast him out.

Not long after I started thinking of Ex’s world as a wheel, I realized that everyone in her system was triangulated. She filtered and spun all of the information among everyone in the wheel; like spokes, they didn’t touch or speak to each other. She kept them all distrusting each other, focused solely on her, and competing for her attention. She also misrepresented the thoughts and opinions of other people.

For instance, Ex told my mother-in-law things like, “Bill and I don’t think you’re an appropriate grandmother figure for the kids.” Of course, Bill never thought or said anything of the sort. But by including Bill in that comment, she made it seem like he was on the other side of the chasm with her, when he was really standing right next to his mother, hearing things like “The kids don’t think you know them well enough to buy them presents they actually want.”

Meanwhile, Ex would tell Bill’s stepmother, who doesn’t like Bill’s mom, things like “Bill’s mom is smarter than you are…” or “Bill’s mom sends the children better gifts.” Or any number of other statements that are designed to isolate, alienate, or make the other person feel insecure, misunderstood, and not good enough. And Ex would slip in little comments that made it seem like other people shared her warped opinions, when, in fact, they didn’t.

Bill, his mom, and his stepmother, were on the same side of the chasm, looking over at Ex, who seemed to have everybody on her side. The reality was, no one was really on Ex’s side. Everyone was on the same side of the divide, thinking they were alone. But they weren’t alone at all… Ex had fooled them into thinking they were, and tricked them into focusing on pleasing her, when they should have been taking care of themselves and each other.

She would get people so spun up and angry that they wouldn’t speak to each other directly. They would just keep talking and listening to Ex, who would keep them agitated and misunderstanding each other. This was all done to keep her in charge. Got to keep the wheel spinning, you see… there’s no time for a party on the other side of the chasm. No time to build bridges to a place where everyone understands, respects, and simply LOVES each other. And Ex doesn’t want people to love each other. She wants them to admire and worship her. I don’t think even she wants to be loved. I think she simply wants to be adored. Maybe that’s what love is to her.

That was how Bill lost contact with his daughters. She told Bill they hated him. She told her daughters that Bill was an abusive bastard who cheated on her. Bill and his daughters never had the opportunity to speak to each other and learn the truth. Meanwhile, Ex did everything she could to remove Bill from their lives. He was a broken spoke who could no longer be trusted to do the work she required. She couldn’t risk him breaking the other spokes with the burden of the truth. She sure as hell didn’t want the kids to think of me as someone who might be “good” or could offer them love, or anything else. That was too threatening for her.

As I sit here thinking about this– all this crazy imagery– another image pops into my head. Did you ever see the 1976 movie, Carrie? It was based on Stephen King’s book about a teenager who has telekinetic powers. She’s a mousy girl, timid and shy, and raised by a weird mother who belongs to a religious cult. The other kids make fun of her. When Carrie gets angry, she turns into a demon from hell, whose rage kills.

In that film, just before Carrie’s final act of rage at the senior prom, a sympathetic character named Sue, who had tried to show Carrie kindness and understanding, shows up to watch Carrie and Sue’s boyfriend, Tommy, be crowned prom king and queen. Sue is initially happy for them… but then she notices a slender rope that runs under the stage. There are two mean kids there, waiting to pull the rope, which will dump pig’s blood all over Carrie. Sue has a perspective that no one else has. She’s not a part of the wheel. She tries to warn someone, but the others, thinking she’s just there to cause trouble, refuse to hear her warnings. So Sue is banished… much like I was. And then, the carnage begins.

Sue knows what’s going on… but no one will listen to her.

Brian DePalma does a masterful job showing all of those perspectives. He shows what Carrie imagines to be happening. He shows Sue realizing what is actually happening. And he shows all of the other doomed people at the prom, not realizing that they’re about to be slaughtered. In fact, DePalma even shows these perspectives in a wheel that spins.

Naturally, this situation with Ex isn’t just like Carrie. So far, Ex hasn’t killed anyone with her narcissistic impulses. In fact, I don’t think Carrie was a narcissist. She was enslaved by her rage, which caused her to be destructive. Maybe if she hadn’t died at the prom, she would have had something more in common with the Incredible Hulk– a mild mannered scientist who turns into a green monster when he gets angry. The point is, in Carrie, there’s someone who has the perspective of seeing what’s happening. She’s not in the wheel. She tries to speak up, but no one hears her. Sue ultimately escapes, but everyone else stays trapped… until Sue lets her guard down in a nightmare and tries to bestow one more act of kindness toward Carrie, who betrays her by trying to pull her into Hell.

There’s so much to this last scene…

Hmm… maybe being friends with a narcissist is kind of like being friends with Carrie, after all. I still don’t see Carrie as a narcissist, though. Maybe given time, and enough cruel treatment by others, she might have become a narcissist. She might have become hardened and cruel, rather than misunderstood and sheltered. Maybe when she was much younger, Ex was more like Carrie, and turned into who she is because of abuse, abandonment, and cruel mistreatment from other people. Somehow, she got to the point at which she turned into someone who is directed by her destructive rages. Anyone who upsets her, threatens her, or doesn’t follow her orders has to be figuratively destroyed.

Anyway… I suspect Bill will have a lot to talk about with his Jungian analyst tonight. But I know he felt better after talking to his daughter, and realizing that, yes– they’ve all been standing on the edge of the chasm, unable to cross, and looking over at the illusion of everybody else, standing with Ex. If they’d only thought to trust each other enough to talk amongst themselves… The healing could have started a long time ago. But I understand now why they couldn’t, and didn’t. They were too focused on keeping the wheel spinning. They were too convinced that if the wheel stopped spinning, disaster would strike. That’s how it works in the narcissist’s world. Somehow, they manage to trick people into thinking that there will be hell to pay if they aren’t satisfied.

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divorce, LDS, mental health, narcissists, psychology

You CAN’T cross a narcissist’s chasm! It’s just a mirage!

Here’s another very personal post from yours truly. It’s not for people who don’t want to read deep thoughts. I’m sharing this, because I know there are a lot of people out there who are struggling in narcissistic relationships. I hope this offers some insight to those who are hurting.

Mood music for this piece…

This morning, Bill brought up some imagery he’s often used when he talks about his relationship with his narcissistic ex wife. He said that he imagined his ex wife on one side of a chasm with everyone else he loved– his kids, his ex stepson, extended family members, church people, and even his parents. And he was on the other side of the chasm, standing there all alone and miserable. Ex encouraged him to come over the chasm to join his loved ones. He could do that by changing into whatever her image of the perfect man was. Only if he did that, would he ever be able to join his loved ones on the other side of the chasm. But she was happy for him to keep trying to reach that goal, and she would always encourage him to try, even though it was an impossible feat.

After some wasted time spent trying to cross the divide, Bill finally wisely understood that if he’d ever actually crossed the chasm, he would cease to be who he is. Who he is, is not a bad person. Ex had made some unreasonable demands that he dance to her tune. She wanted him to seek counseling from an LDS bishop for his “hatred of women” (which doesn’t now, and never has existed). He refused to do it. In retrospect, he was wise not to agree to counseling with the bishop, since LDS bishops are not usually trained counselors. They’re unpaid laypeople who have professional jobs. He could have wound up spilling his guts to an accountant. Besides, he’s neither a pervert, nor a misogynist. Having been his wife for almost 19 years, I can attest to that fact.

Ex subsequently demanded a divorce, while the family was visiting Bill’s father and stepmother. The timing of her demand was surely done on purpose. She probably figured that asking for a divorce at the home of Bill’s dad and stepmother would make Bill think twice about agreeing to the split. She may have been thinking that he would acquiesce and do her bidding in order to save their marriage for eternity. I’m sure it was driven home that they were not on neutral territory when she made her demand. She later said that she’d been wanting to drive Bill to “rock bottom”, and show him what he was going to be giving up. I think Ex probably needs to work on her threats. A marriage to someone who deliberately sabotages their partners, attempts to shame and humiliate them in front of others, and tells bald faced lies about their characters is not exactly a prize worth anything.

The fact that the divorce stunt was carried out at Easter has always struck me as weirdly symbolic and prophetic. It was as if Bill finally got the opportunity to resurrect his life before it was too late. But then, Bill did something Ex never thought he’d do.

When Ex presented Bill with divorce papers, fully expecting him to cave and agree to her demands, he took her completely by surprise and agreed to divorce, instead. Ex was devastated, because she’d only meant to regain control of Bill. Bill was making responsible adult decisions like going back into the Army and doing work he was qualified for, and would be well paid to do, instead of working in crappy factory shift jobs. Ex knew the Army would, once again, trump her decisions about where they should live, and when Bill would be working. She didn’t want to surrender to that lifestyle again, because she wanted to be in control of everything. To regain control, Ex took some desperate and regrettable measures that ended up backfiring, as many of her harebrained schemes do in the long run.

First, Ex tried to convince Bill that he was a bad person with misogynistic tendencies. I think she knew damned well it wasn’t the truth. The truth is, Bill is kind and generous to a fault. He doesn’t have an abusive bone in his body. Ex, on the other hand, is very abusive. So she just projected herself onto Bill– yet another illusion. Maybe she should have been named Doug Henning! Like all narcissists, she’s a master at creating smoke and mirrors that confuse her targets and distorts their perceptions so that they see things inaccurately.

When Ex suggested that Bill was an abuser, it horrified him. Bill worked hard to prove to her that he wasn’t that person, even though they both knew he’s not abusive. I suspect that Ex was both repulsed and turned on by the way Bill reacted to the idea that he was a monster and his subsequent desperation to prove to her otherwise. I’m sure one part of her wished he would have taken a stand. But the other part of her probably realized that he’d let her change the narrative, and this could be a powerful point of control for her. When he didn’t settle down and give up the idea of going back into the Army, Ex got more desperate. That was when she decided to haul in the big guns and throw out the “D” word– knowing full well that Bill’s parents’ divorce had been very painful for him. She figured he would do anything to avoid a divorce from her and be separated from his children.

Ex never actually meant to end their marriage. At least not at that point. She just wanted to be in control again, and maybe somehow get Bill to change his mind about being in the Army. Or maybe she just wanted to punish and humiliate him for taking back some control over his own life. How dare he?! Either way, if she managed to convince Bill that he was “sick”, damaged, and abusive, and that she was the only woman who would accept him, he would stay with her and never let anyone or anything supersede her authority, including the Army.

This “divorce” stunt, which was supposed to make Bill desperate to appease Ex, had instead forced her into a situation that caused a severe narcissistic injury. She couldn’t backpedal when he said “yes” to her divorce proposal, because that would make the narcissistic injury and subsequent humiliation even worse. So she was forced to ride with Bill on the drive to the notary she’d lined up on Easter morning. It was not the outcome she’d ever expected or wanted. She thought she knew him, but there was still a part of him that he’d kept for himself. I think that’s the part of the situation that upset her the most. All this time, she thought she owned him, not realizing that there was still a little part of him that she didn’t know. I’m sure it enraged her that he’d done the unexpected.

Of course, being a narcissist, Ex only thought she knew Bill. Narcissists never take the time to really get to know anyone. They think they’re special and gifted, so why would they take the time to get to know someone’s heart? The reality is, she really only knew Bill on a superficial level. But she was convinced she had him pegged, and she was certain she knew how he was going to react in that situation. She thought that asking for a divorce while they visited family would pressure Bill into agreeing with her that he’s a monster and a pervert. It turns out Bill has much more self-respect and dignity than she ever realized. She didn’t know, and it was painfully obvious… and in the end, she lost big time.

I’ve heard Bill tell the story about feeling like he was standing alone at a chasm many times. This morning, something new occurred to me. I started thinking about all of the other people in Ex’s life. I have never met Ex in person, but I’ve talked to many people who have known her. She uniformly leaves a lot of angry, confused, and hurt people in her wake. I’ve done enough research about narcissists, and experienced enough of their shit myself, that it dawned on me that Bill must not have been the only one who felt alone and isolated from loved ones.

I suddenly realized that most of those people probably felt the same way Bill did, standing alone on the edge of the chasm, staring longingly at all of their loved ones beckoning them to come over the chasm to join the narcissist’s team. That means that the reality of the situation was, Ex was the one who was alone at the chasm.

Bill was never alone. He was standing there with all of the other people who were being pressured to dance to Ex’s tune and were never quite “good enough” to hang out in the fantasy world. But all of those people had, like Bill, been carefully trained not to ever talk to anyone about how they were feeling. They all had tunnel vision, and were completely unaware that she had a slew of people gazing across the chasm at her fantasy world.

I looked at Bill and blurted out, “She had you fooled. You weren’t standing alone on the chasm. She was. She was the one staring longingly at all of the people on the other side, wanting to join them. But instead of trusting people, being genuinely loving and caring, and making them want to join her because she’s truly a good person, she used lies, threats, manipulation, and devaluation to isolate her victims and make them think they’re alone.”

I am willing to bet that if Bill asked some of Ex’s other victims if they ever felt like they were standing alone at a chasm, more than one of them would say they did. If at least one other person felt like Bill did, that means he wasn’t alone. There were others there with him.

Much like the late Doug Henning was, Ex is a master of illusion… and she also has a similar hairstyle.

The narcissist is very good at convincing people that he or she is the “good one”, who has everyone’s approval. The victims are “bad” and standing alone at the chasm, desperate to make it to the party. But the reality is, it’s not the victims who are alone. Narcissists usually have many victims, and they make every single one of them feel like they’re alone. The truth is, it’s the narcissist who’s alone, and desperately trying to connect. They create a fantasy mirage that looks appealing to their confused and traumatized victims, who are made to feel like they have to cross the chasm. But crossing is impossible.

Narcissists are never actually satisfied, and always keep their prey at an arm’s length. They’re always keeping their victims fighting to be acceptable, and narcissists have ways of making their victims think they’re worthy of the battle. But the reality is, no matter what the victims do, they’re never quite good enough to join the narcissist’s party on the other side of the fissure. They can’t ever be good enough, because they can’t be the narcissist’s equal.

A narcissist who accepts a victim as having finally done enough to appease them can no longer be in control. Losing control is DEATH to the narcissist, so they’ll always move the goalposts. You will never be good enough for them, and if you don’t wise up and end the relationship, you will die trying to appease them. Or you will lose yourself and become a shell of who you were meant to be. You CAN’T cross the chasm. You can only keep chasing the dream, which is just an illusion… a mirage.

The narcissist makes crossing that chasm seem so attractive. It may even look like it’s easy. All anyone has to do is make the narcissist happy and do what they want. Then they can join the party and be happy with the narcissist, who will finally stop being so mean, critical, and dictatorial. But that will never happen. There’s too much value in the narcissist keeping people wanting what they can’t have. So that chasm will forever remain uncrossed… but it’s really just a mirage, anyway, and probably about as enjoyable as Mormon Heaven is.

The sad thing is, narcissists have a knack for zeroing in on a person’s deepest insecurities and exploiting them for their own gain. They’re masters at triangulating their victims, using other people to present false narratives that make them think they are damaged and at risk of being alone. At the same time, like any garden variety abuser, narcissists isolate their victims, discouraging them from comparing notes while encouraging them to take sides and keep secrets. And so, the victims think they’re alone. But they’re not alone… and they can’t ever get across the chasm. So there’s no use trying. Instead of fighting for something you can never have, it’s better to find (or build) a bridge and get over it.

So ends today’s sermon. Go forth and enjoy your Sunday!

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