mental health, narcissists, psychology, social media

Those of you who are “hell in high heels”, kindly stay the hell away from me!

The featured photo is of a shoe that was shared around social media a few years ago. It seems to fit the theme of today’s post.

Good morning WordPress fans. I had a really terrible time trying to sleep last night. I was kind of lazy yesterday, so I didn’t get tired for physical reasons. I didn’t drink anything alcoholic last night, nor did I take any sleep aids. Bill isn’t home, so taking care of Arran’s nocturnal needs falls to me, and he got up twice– once at about 2:30 AM, then an hour later. I ended up feeding him at 3:45, because he was demanding it, and I was awake anyway. Then I realized that Noyzi was trapped in his room, because he hasn’t learned to use his paw to open doors for himself. So once I opened his door, he wanted to eat and go outside, too. By the time we were done, it was close to 4:00 AM. I was wide awake.

I then got on Facebook, because although I’ve been trying to finish reading my latest book, I kept getting distracted. I ended up seeing a GoFundMe post shared by a “friend”. To put this in perspective, this is not someone I know offline. I think we might have “met” back in the days when Facebook games required users to be friends if they wanted to be “neighbors”. I ended up with a bunch of strangers as friends because of that policy. A couple of them have actually endured, even though we don’t really know each other personally.

I know this phenomenon isn’t all that unusual. I have a few friends who don’t know each other offline, but have friended each other because they “met” while interacting with me. Sometimes what ends up happening, when your friends make friends with each other, is that you unintentionally get exposed to drama you wouldn’t otherwise.

So, anyway, there I was in the wee hours of the morning, reading a GoFundMe plea for money on behalf of a woman my “friend” knew from college. It seems that my Facebook friend’s college friend and her husband have been supporting the college friend’s very ill ex husband. The ex husband is on Social Security and just had a liver transplant. For some reason, the ex wife and her current husband have been paying most of her ex’s non-medical expenses. They are now “tapped out” and need financial help. So they are crowdfunding, and my “friend” dutifully shared their request on her page.

I noticed one of the comments on that post. It came from another college friend of my Facebook friend’s. She donated to the crowdfund, even though she specifically stated that she wasn’t friends with the college friend who has been supporting her very ill ex husband. She wrote, “I wanted nothing to do with her. We aren’t in the same socioeconomic class”. Nevertheless, the person still donated money, because she wanted to help the very sick ex husband, who is also the father of her college classmate’s son.

She later posted an irate comment, because she got a thank you note for her contribution from the current husband. In the note, the current husband wrote that the money would go for helping pay expenses for the ex husband with the liver transplant, and “reimbursing” him and the ex wife the money they have spent to help the ex husband. For some reason, this really PISSED off the contributor, who claims that this is fraudulent behavior. She writes that she’s complained to GoFundMe and “the government”. Below is a screenshot…

Wow…

To reiterate, I don’t know these people at all. I have no idea why the divorce occurred. I know nothing about the the characters of the couple who asked for the money, nor do I know the ex husband who had the liver transplant. It sounds like the split was at least a little bit amicable, though. I know sometimes people get divorced because of financial reasons caused by severe health issues. I know of a few people who split up and remain on excellent terms with their exes. In any case, on the surface, I think it’s very commendable that this married couple is helping the wife’s ex husband. I don’t see a problem with them getting some money from the fundraiser, if they have put their own funds into helping the very sick ex husband. People need money to live, and if you’re paying for another person’s bills, it gets expensive fast. Whenever I give money to a cause, I expect that not all of what I give goes directly to the cause. But that’s just me.

Perhaps this person is thinking that the folks who have been helping the liver transplant patient are not, themselves, deserving of any financial assistance, since they presumably freely chose to give their money to the cause. I don’t know. But if they’re still helping the guy, transporting him back and forth to medical appointments in another state, paying the rent on his apartment, buying him groceries, supplies, or whatever else, it seems to me that they should get some of the money, too. After all, they are providing some of the care, aren’t they? And most people would get paid for that kind of work. If the couple asking for funds weren’t doing it, someone would hopefully be doing that work for money.

I was curious about the woman who was kind enough to donate money to a crowdfund set up by a person she’d stated that she’d previously wanted nothing to do with when they were in college. So I took a peek at her profile page. There, in her intro, she’d typed “Hell in high heels”. I suppose a person could take that in a number of ways. Sometimes people who would refer to themselves as “hell in high heels” just mean that they’re high-mettled, feisty types. While that type of person can be challenging at times, they aren’t necessarily troublemakers. Sometimes, it just means they’re not to be trifled with casually.

But then I noticed a bunch of very dramatic public posts… and I very quickly surmised that this person probably really is “hell in high heels.” She posted a list of names of people who have evidently crossed her– including the name of one person who is dead. Then she wrote:

There were several more posts of this nature– all very public and scathing. And again, I don’t know what this is about, but it appears maybe it had to do with some sort of crime involving a family member that the “hell in high heels” person was the last to find out about. She’s obviously very angry about it, and wants to tell the world. I stopped reading her page when I got to this last comment.

Is she a Scorpio? I’ve heard they’re pretty vindictive.

She also wrote, “I swear this is the biggest truth. I am the most vindictive vengeful human on this planet and I’ll wait as long as I have to but I will get even.”

I do understand this kind of seething anger. I have experienced it myself. On the other hand, people who are this open about their rage– who openly admit that they never forgive people or apologize– are usually high conflict individuals who lack personal insight and introspection. They’re often much more trouble than they’re worth, because in spite of the Pinterest ready meme platitudes they share, they’re immature, dramatic, and quite often, very narcissistic and hypocritical. This person had posted the below meme, which references not walking on eggshells…

True, but…

I agree with the above statement, but I can’t imagine not walking on eggshells around a person who publicly posts the statements that this individual did. She openly states that she doesn’t forgive. She outright says she’s vindictive and vengeful. That implies that she doesn’t think she makes mistakes, or that other people should be allowed to make mistakes. It seems like it would be a lot of pressure to maintain a relationship with this type of person. On the other hand, at least she’s honest about who she is… which is more than I can say about Ex, one of a few people in my life who have made me seethe in anger. A person who is this open about their ability to be petty and vindictive are at least kind enough to offer fair warning, so they can be avoided.

Lately, Ex has been posting more dross in her unending quest to maintain her facade. She’s always trying to promote this humanitarian “Mother Teresa” image. And yet I know very well, that beneath that seemingly benevolent exterior, there is a true monster who uses people up, and leaves them broken and broke. My very kind and responsible husband left their marriage unable to father more children without medical help, and with both a bankruptcy and foreclosure on his credit record. She also left physical scars due to her abuse of him. Meanwhile, she told his parents and their children blatant, vicious lies about his character. She also told them lies about me, and my character, even though we’ve never met in person and she knows little about me. Put it this way… no one in her sphere has spent that much in person time with me, nor have they ever been in an intimate situation with me. Bill, on the other hand, has spent that kind of time with her. So has younger daughter. My inlaws know her pretty well, too.

God knows I’ve ranted a lot about her. I do think she’s a terrible person. But I also have a scintilla of compassion for her, because I know she was terribly abused and neglected, and she had a legitimately terrible childhood. That’s not an excuse for the way she behaves today, but it is a regrettable fact that she has suffered significant abuse. Although she doesn’t always act like it, she is a human being. And I try to maintain basic compassion for all human beings. I do believe she suffered, and I’m certain that she has mental health issues. Unfortunately, she’s also a narcissist, and a high conflict person. She seems “wonderful” on the surface. Get to know her, though, and soon you will be exposed to the rottenness.

But she keeps trying. Lord, does she keep trying to convince strangers that she’s really a lovely person… See below:

Those who get to know Ex well, will eventually and often see a woman who is more like the “hell in high heels” person who inspired this post. She rants, rages, and says the most damaging things. She lies, manipulates, and does harm to other people without a second thought. Those who are closest to her will be left with scars. Sometimes, they are literal scars in intimate places, and other times they are emotional scars that never fade with time.

Now… I don’t know if the person I wrote about at the beginning of this post is like Ex, or if she’s just super pissed off at the moment and having trouble processing her anger. I have experienced that myself. Sometimes, it takes me a long time to cool off when someone has tried to screw me over. Former landlady comes to mind. I was very angry with her for a long time. Now, I seem to have mostly gotten over it, even though that whole situation was incredibly bizarre. I will admit, I kind of resent that we were involved in that situation… and in fact, in a weird way, it’s partly due to Ex that we were. Because if not for her disastrous financial shenanigans, from which we had to spend a few years recovering, we probably wouldn’t be renters today. On the other hand, we probably also wouldn’t be living in Germany.

I fully admit that I’m not the easiest person to like. Some people find me annoying, insufferable, overly blunt, obnoxious, and weird. But I know that, deep down, I truly am a kind person, and have the capacity to forgive people, even if it takes awhile. It comes from being hurt when I was a defenseless child. I know that’s probably the root of Ex’s problems, too… Perhaps even Donald Trump is the way he is because he was deeply hurt when he was a defenseless child. The difference is, Ex and her ilk are truly not to be trusted. I don’t know about the lady who inspired this post, but I can’t say that her public persona on Facebook would make me want to approach. When she writes that she’s “Hell in high heels”, I am inclined to believe her. And I am inclined to stay the hell away from her.

Sigh… hopefully tonight, I’ll sleep better and stay out of Facebook rabbit holes. I did eventually sleep for about two hours, before Arran woke me up again at 6:30 AM. On another note, this is not the first time a Facebook friend I don’t actually know has led me to strange places. I probably need to prune my friends list again. 😉

Standard
Duggars, narcissists, politicians, politics, royals, YouTube

The “red mist”, and family ties that bind… and GAG!

Yesterday was an interesting day. I watched the election results roll in, gratified to see that a lot of people made their opinions regarding women’s rights quite clear. Yes, it’s true that Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ron DeSantis won their races, but on the whole, the projected “red wave” turned out to be more like a red misting. Honestly, I don’t understand the lack of situational awareness and common sense some extreme right wingers have.

They thought they’d win because of the current high inflation and the cost of living situation. But why didn’t they consider that when people are having trouble paying their own bills, the LAST thing they’d want to be is pregnant?! Besides the fact that the anti-abortion laws are an obvious affront to privacy and bodily autonomy, having a baby is an expensive and potentially dangerous proposition for most women. Obviously, more people, than the Republicans realized, were mightily pissed off at the intrusion into their private healthcare and family planning decisions, but I’ll bet some of them realized that forcing people to have babies will make life even more expensive.

I wish Texas had gone blue, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Now, it’s time for some repercussions. I suspect some healthcare providers will leave Texas and go somewhere they can practice without draconian laws that punish them for doing their jobs. I suspect a lot of very bright women will leave the state for places where they can make private decisions about their healthcare, family planning, and their own bodily autonomy. I suspect some companies will decide not to operate in Texas, or move out of the state, so that their employees don’t have to deal with Abbott’s disastrous laws. It’s hard to attract good talent when the living conditions in a state are unhealthy or oppressive. The anti abortion laws in Texas are very oppressive, and they are going to kill women.

I do think that eventually, the abortion laws in Texas will have to be relaxed somewhat. But unfortunately, that won’t happen until the public is more outraged, and realizes exactly what they’ve wrought when they force people to have babies they aren’t ready for and/or don’t want. And it will take some deaths, too, when women who are denied timely care during miscarriages or other healthcare crises die or get much sicker… again, both propositions that will ultimately cost more on many levels, financially or otherwise. Sicker patients cost more to treat, and take up more spots in overburdened hospitals. They require more care, and take longer to go back to work. Dead mothers aren’t around to take care of their babies or other children. Eventually, I hope some people will understand these truths. I hope it happens before a lot of people actually find out firsthand. But God forbid someone actually exercise some common sense, right? They’ll get accused of spreading misinformation or cheering for “murdering babies”.

I’ll tell you what. I certainly don’t cheer for abortion, but I think early abortions are preferable to the horrors of babies growing up in violent, abusive, neglectful, alcoholic homes… And I think abortion is less traumatic and cruel than the reality of what too many of today’s children experience, sitting in classrooms or church services, terrified as gun toting lunatics storm through and randomly murder anyone who happens to be in their way or looks at them funny. At least abortion “victims” don’t know what’s coming, and don’t fear death or suffering the way already born victims do.

Anyway… I don’t mean to rant about this again. I’m just glad to see that I’m not the only one who sees why safe access to abortion is very important. I’m glad to know that the silent majority realizes that the pro-birth movement is only a good thing when there aren’t any societal ills to worry about. And Americans know that we have a lot of societal ills to fix before we start requiring all babies to be born. A few days ago, Mama Doctor Jones shared the below video on her YouTube channel… The elections are over, but I still think this is a good video. Hope you’ll watch…

These fools need to be voted out of public office.

So now, what’s up with today’s title? It was inspired as I watched Katie Joy’s video about Jinger Vuolo’s new book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear, about escaping Bill Gothard’s IBLP cult. Katie Joy says the Duggar parents are “terrified” that Jinger will expose their secrets and hinder their chances of getting back on TV. I think that’s entirely likely, but Jim Bob and Michelle had to know that one day, their children would be adults. I know they hoped the children would all stay under Jim Bob’s authority, and they did all they could to influence them to make those “choices”, uninformed as they might be. But come on… nineteen children… there’s bound to be some rebels in that group. And of course, there will be at least one “truth teller”, who isn’t going to stay silent about what went on, and still goes on, in that family.

I doubt Jinger’s book will be a super revealing “tell all”, but it’s probably going to be revealing enough to get her shunned by her family for awhile. As for whether or not I’ll be reading it… at this point, I don’t know. I don’t have a burning desire to read a book written by someone who escapes one cult, only to enter another. And while I know Jinger used a ghostwriter, I’m not altogether sure her book is one that’s going to excite me much. I did try to watch her video about it, but aside from liking her outfit, I didn’t find her delivery very compelling. I was reminded of when she was younger, and on the show. She was always the one who smiled, gave two thumbs up, and seemed “happy”, even if it was an act. In her latest video, she didn’t seem like the same person. Her eyes were kind of dead to me. Maybe she’s happier now, but I wasn’t convinced. But I’ve been wrong before. Maybe I’m wrong again. Anyway, if you want to see her video, you can easily find it on YouTube, at least at this writing.

I do think that Jinger should have a voice. She should be free to speak her truth. As a “freedom loving” Republican, her dad should embrace his children’s rights to express themselves. That is one of the top Constitutional rights all Americans are guaranteed. But I guess Republicans only care about the Constitution when it promotes their agendas.

The other book that’s about to come out is Prince Harry’s. His book, Spare, reportedly worries his family. The British Royal Family also has a lot of secrets they’d rather keep, and they worry that Harry’s insights will damage the family’s reputation. There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen when the book is published. Many people think King Charles III will strip Meghan and Harry of their titles, and ostracize them forever. If that happens, I will be sad– mainly about the ostracism, not so much the titles. I feel like Harry and Meghan should not use their titles, if they are going to be living in the United States and not working as royals. But… I also think that if this is the path they’ve chosen, they should have the right to express themselves. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they should have to deal with the consequences of their actions. It just means that they have the right to their own thoughts and expression, as everyone does. The British Royals aren’t wrong to be angry, but neither is Harry.

Will I read Harry’s book? I don’t know. I am a little curious about it… but I have a long list of books to be read, and I feel like some of Harry’s behavior has been pretty bad. I don’t like Meghan Markle. I think she’s a narcissist. For that reason, I feel a little sorry for Harry, because he’s caught in a trap. But I’ve also seen the toxic way narcissists affect their victims and make them unlikeable and unattractive. That’s part of the design. When narcissists get their victims to alienate other people, they prevent them from escaping their clutches. Harry used to be very well liked by people around the world. Now he’s pissed off a lot of people, which means that he has fewer places to go for help and comfort as he gets further stuck in the relationship… and as Meghan continues to devalue him until he’s no longer himself. I know some people don’t see this and will disagree with me. And again, I could be wrong. But I’ve seen this many times… and I’m married to a man who was once married to a narcissist. The signs and symptoms are pretty clear to me, even as I also acknowledge that what I see is only what’s in the media. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors?

Well… it’s going to be a busy day. I’ve got to go get the laundry, walk the dogs, practice guitar, vacuum, and take Arran in for his fifth chemo appointment. After today, he’s going to be more than halfway through his nine week protocol before the chemo appointments are less frequent. He continues to amaze us with his resilience. Yesterday, when I walked him, he demanded to go the long way. A month ago, he could barely manage a short walk, and didn’t want to eat the tempting canned food. Now, he scarfs down kibble, jumps up on the bed, and shows us love. So, I’m going to quit blogging now…

Have a good Thursday. If you’re American, I hope the elections where you are went somewhat the way you hoped they would…

Standard
family, lessons learned, mental health, narcissists

Narcissists force their victims to “punish” healthy people…

A few months ago, someone in my husband’s family friended him on social media. It was someone my husband hasn’t had a chance to get to know well, so Bill was excited to be Facebook friends with the person. But then, a few hours after friending Bill, the person abruptly unfriended him with no explanation whatsoever.

Bill was non-plussed. What had he done to offend this person? Bill hardly ever posts on social media, although he has admittedly become a lot more politically and socially liberal than he used to be. He also makes no secret that he’s no longer a believer in organized religions, particularly Mormonism. That means he freely curses, drinks alcohol and coffee, and laughs at ribald humor. Did the person look at Bill’s page and decide it was too “raw” for him? He didn’t know.

Although Bill was a little bit sad that this person he’d wanted to know had unfriended him with no explanation, he eventually figured it wasn’t him with a problem; the person who’d unfriended him had the issue. Life went on, and he pretty much forgot about the incident until it was brought up again by a mutual relative.

The mutual relative said that the person had decided to unfriend Bill because of Ex. The person realized that by having a connection with Bill, Ex would possibly have a connection with us. So Bill was unfriended, not because he was “offensive”, but because the other person wanted to spare Bill from offense by keeping Ex out of our sphere. And I suspect, it was also because that person likewise didn’t want any trouble from Ex.

I appreciated hearing that explanation, although I wish the person had thought to send Bill a private message or an email to let him know that the unceremonious “unfriending” wasn’t because of something Bill had done. Bill is a kind, empathic, and thoughtful person, so the truth is, he is a bit sensitive about being liked by others and not wanting to upset or offend them. But then again, when it comes to social media, I guess a lot of people feel that no one really owes anyone else an explanation. That’s one aspect of social media that I don’t like very much. Many of the “friendships” aren’t very authentic, and a lot of them have replaced what used to be “real” relationships with other human beings.

I was recently unfriended by two people with whom I had once hoped to be offline friends. I wasn’t that surprised by their decision to delete me, although perhaps because I’ve spent over half my life dealing with people in person, it still stings a little when “unfriending” happens. I had a feeling the people who unfriended me found me annoying… and the truth is, I found them a little annoying, too. But I realize that in the long run, in very few cases do I end up truly missing the people who leave my Facebook realm. After the initial ego shock of seeing the friend count go down, life goes on and I forget about them.

The people I do tend to miss are those with whom I actually interact or have ever known offline. Failing social media relationships and inevitable “unfriending” is even harder with family members because, if I’m honest, it makes me think they don’t like me at all. And the more I lose touch with people in my family, the more I think the situation is personal, and will be permanent. Thanks to Facebook, I don’t even feel that comfortable thinking about going to the family homestead for a reunion anymore, mostly due to politics and religion and social media behavior. I just assume my family would rather not see me, which makes living in Germany very convenient.

Bill’s younger daughter recently told him that she’d wanted to invite him to her wedding a few years ago. I’m assuming she would have invited me, too, although I don’t know for sure. In the end, younger daughter didn’t invite Bill, because she wanted to avoid drama with her mother. Here it was, younger daughter’s wedding day. She should have felt free to invite whomever she pleased. It should have been her day. But she was more concerned about her narcissistic mother’s feelings and, ultimately, her mother’s behavior. So she excluded Bill, even though I can guarantee he would have been a better behaved guest at her nuptials.

I don’t fault younger daughter for doing that. I might have blamed her some years ago, before I got to know her better. But I don’t feel that way anymore, because we’ve learned more about what happened during the many years in which she and Bill were not allowed to communicate. Younger daughter grew up in an environment where she was compelled to either do what her mother wanted, or suffer dire consequences. It took a few years outside of that environment for her to relax a bit and make decisions for herself.

Younger daughter didn’t even initially tell her mother about her decision to talk to Bill. Even though younger daughter is a grown woman with children of her own, and her mother lives on the other side of the country, she knew there would be trouble. So, instead of telling her mother that, as an adult, younger daughter has the right to live her life as she pleases, she maintained the false reality for a bit longer.

I can relate to younger daughter’s angst on a much smaller and less personal scale. When Bill and I first moved into our current home after leaving the toxic and abusive environment of our last, it took me several months to be able to relax and enjoy the current, healthier living situation. I kept expecting our former landlady to come over and yell at me for something, or give me a look of disgust, disdain, or disapproval as to how I live my life. I was suffering from a mild form of PTSD that had warped my thinking and reality a bit.

The truth is, ex landlady was working for us. We were paying her a lot of money for the privilege of renting her house. I should have simply reminded her of that fact and demanded that she show me basic respect. But that’s easier said than done when you’re dealing with an immature, irrational, narcissistic person. Because, as you quickly find out, narcissists can out-drama most normal, healthy people, and there will be hell to pay if you don’t play their games. So innocent, decent, well-meaning people are “punished” and have to suffer in favor of the narcissist’s need to stay in control. One of the punishments I actually enjoyed, by the way, was ex landlady’s penchant for the silent treatment. Those were actually the best months of our time with her in our lives. Remember, it’s not a punishment to be shunned by an asshole. 😉

Bill and his daughter now talk somewhat regularly. She calls him “Dad” instead of “Bill”, and she lets him see his grandchildren on Skype. She didn’t give in to her mother’s demands that she forget about her father and accept a poor substitute in Ex’s third husband. Frankly, that’s more than Bill had ever expected or hoped for, after his disastrous attempts and failures to co-parent with his ex wife.

But when she speaks to her mother, younger daughter has to listen to Ex complain about how #3 (younger daughter’s stepfather) “misses” her and wants to see “his grandchildren”. Not once has younger daughter ever heard from her stepfather expressing these bereft feelings. Sure, we’ve seen #3 post the odd social media post about how he thinks of Ex’s brood of five as “his kids”, but in reality, it’s all a big facade. In reality, he doesn’t show a lot of regard for Bill’s daughters or former stepson. He’s clearly much more interested in his own kids with the Ex than he is with her other children.

It was the same thing back in 2006, when Ex tried to get Bill to sign legal papers so #3 could adopt Bill’s daughters. He heard from Ex that #3 “loved” Bill’s girls as his own and wanted them to legally be considered his children. Never once did #3 ever personally speak to Bill about the prospect of his legally adopting the girls, just as he’s never spoken to younger daughter about his so-called “love” and affection for younger daughter’s children and thinking of them as his grandchildren.

That’s all a bunch of wishful thinking/fantastical/bullshit that Ex continues to promote. It’s a false narrative of the truth. Unfortunately, it’s easier for the healthier people to continue to tolerate that crap from Ex, than call her on it. It’s easier for younger daughter to nod and smile than tell her mother, in no uncertain terms, that Bill is the father of younger daughter, and younger daughter’s children are Bill’s grandchildren, not #3’s.

Despite Ex’s best attempts to replace Bill with her third husband, her efforts have failed with at least one of Bill’s two daughters. I’m proud of younger daughter for refusing to give in to her mother’s demands that she forget about Bill, because Bill truly loves both of his children and never should have been denied access to them. Denying him access caused a lot of damage that could, and should, have been avoided. And if Ex were a decent person and a responsible parent, she’d understand that it’s wrong to hate her exes more than she loves and respects her children. But, unfortunately, she’s a very toxic person. She’s selfish, delusional, and disrespectful. And because of that, and her propensity to be “dramatic”, good people are punished.

Bill can’t have a social media connection with his own daughter or his son-in-law. Why not? Because it would cause drama with Ex. Either she would object to it, or she would try to exploit the connection somehow. So, even though Bill is by far the healthier parent, he has to be “punished” as a form of protection– both for younger daughter and her family, and for Bill and, to a lesser extent, me. (I’m sure Ex reads this blog, though… and I don’t actually care.)

I think younger daughter is, like me, a bit of a truth teller. Truth tellers are the ones who don’t buy into the fantasy. They don’t fall prey to cognitive dissonance. They see things more clearly than others do, and they tell the truth. That tendency can make them unpopular in a sick family system, particularly when it involves someone with narcissistic tendencies. A truth teller can be a “buzz kill”. Their demands to adhere to reality can really be a downer for someone who would rather fabricate more palatable (to them) lies.

Ex would like to pretend Bill never existed, or, at the very least, see him punished for not continuing to accept her abuse. She suffered an ego blow when Bill agreed to her divorce ultimatum. The ego blow worsened when he found someone else to love him and, clearly, lives a much better life now. She’d rather not face reality and take responsibility for her mistakes. She’d rather make Bill the bad guy and punish him, and she tries to make other people punish Bill, too. But younger daughter is a truth teller, and she doesn’t accept that false reality.

I’m waiting for younger daughter to get fed up with Ex’s demands and tell her mom the way things really are, and how they’re going to be, regarding her children. She may never do it. The reality is, it’s hard to give up on your own mom, even if she is toxic and crazy, and even though there are so many other people in the world who are healthier and kinder. Ex is still her mom, and she has a special place in younger daughter’s life. Plus, younger daughter truly is a lot like Bill. She’s legitimately kind, considerate, and decent.

I feel sad for her. I think she felt like she had to apologize to Bill for “dissing” him at her wedding because of what she knew her mom would do. The fact is, it was her wedding day, and she should have had the right to do whatever she wanted. It should have been entirely her choice as to whom to invite. But Bill completely understands why she felt she had to exclude him, and he can handle it. That’s why he’s the better parent, and he has to suffer for it.

I hope that someday, younger daughter realizes that she has every right to do what she wants and needs to do for herself and her family, even if it causes her mom to bring the drama. I hope that she gets to the point at which she realizes she doesn’t have to tolerate that abuse anymore. If Ex wants to be dramatic, she can do it without younger daughter in attendance. Younger daughter is a grown woman with allies… and she can choose to opt out of the drama. Once she realizes that, maybe she can stop “punishing” the good and healthy people in her life by excluding them.

Standard
Uncategorized

Truth tellers…

Last night, just before I drifted off to sleep, I watched a really excellent YouTube video by Doctor Ramani, a psychologist who makes videos about narcissists and narcissism. The subject was “truth tellers” in family systems.

Really great video!

She begins by talking about family roles and how they can follow a person from childhood into adulthood. She explains that in every family system, there is ALWAYS a child who “gets it”. They see everything clearly and tell the truth, sometimes in a naive way. In most families, they’re the kid who blurts out observations about the way things are, whether or not those observations are flattering. The family may “train” the child not to be so blunt, but ultimately, they’re the child who doesn’t get on the bus to Abilene.

In a narcissistic family system, being a “truth teller” can be very dangerous. Narcissists expect the people close to them to keep secrets and tell lies. Keeping secrets and telling lies is anathema to what a truth teller is. And so, being the type of person who is naturally honest, but living in a narcissistic family system, can be hell for a truth teller. They tend to do desperate things to get out of that sistuation.

I wasn’t raised by narcissists, but I think I’m kind of a truth teller. I related a lot to what Doctor Ramani said, especially the part about moving far away from their families and doing “desperate” things to escape it. I think Bill’s younger daughter is also a truth teller. When I first met her, back in 2003, she seemed to be more like a “golden child“. But years later, when she started talking to Bill again, it seemed more like she was very observant. She recognized that she grew up in a really fucked up family. Her mother has had three husbands. Her mother’s adoptive mother had seven husbands. Younger daughter didn’t want that for herself.

When she turned 18, younger daughter decided she had to go her own way. She got no help from her mother, so she struck out on her own, and sought help from church members. The church helped her out, and she was able to go on a LDS mission. She met her husband when he was on his mission in Boston.

Ex wasn’t very happy about younger daughter’s decision to date a missionary from Utah. She wanted younger daughter to stay close and remain under her control. But younger daughter wasn’t having it. She left, even though her mother went to some extreme and dramatic lengths to change her mind. Eventually, younger daughter started talking to Bill again, even though Ex had tried to convince her that he’s an abusive monster.

When Bill went to see his daughter a few months ago, they talked, and younger daughter said, “Wow. Look at you helping me clean the kitchen. I’ll bet when you and Mom were married, you did all the work, didn’t you?”

Bill nodded, telling her about what that time was like.

“When Mom visits, she usually sits on the couch, plays with her phone, and complains. She never helps.” younger daughter said.

Bill in action… he’s good about helping. Ex isn’t, but she’ll still try to convince everyone that she’s a saint and Bill is a bastard, even when the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary.

More revelations came up over that visit. Younger daughter revealed more truths about what it was like to grow up with Ex, without Bill in her life. To her credit, despite all of the cognitive dissonance Ex tried to create, and even though it was easier to just “believe” and get on with things, younger daughter was never able to stop being a truth teller. She continued to see through the bullshit and, on occasion, she must have called it out.

For instance, Ex had told the kids a wild and completely made up story about how Bill and I had a torrid affair when they were still married. Younger daughter never really believed it, but she still wanted confirmation. She asked Bill how and when we met, and he told her. She said her mother had said Bill was cheating on her… conveniently forgetting that she had moved her third husband into the house Bill was paying for before the divorce was final. And yes, they were having sex outside of marriage, despite being so-called ” devout Mormons”!

By contrast, Bill and I lived together from May 2002, almost two whole years after the divorce was final. We did not have sex for the first time until about two weeks after our wedding day, in November of that year. In fact, Bill even wore his first wedding ring until the day his divorce was final. But, in Ex’s eyes, I’m nothing but a homewrecking whore who weakened Bill’s resolve, and if it wasn’t for me, she and Bill would not have divorced. That is a lie, but I know it’s not personal. She would have hated any woman who married Bill. It wouldn’t have mattered how kind, cooperative, and forgiving she was. And I am not the kindest, most cooperative or forgiving person. Like younger daughter, I am also a bit of a truth teller.

The more I learn about younger daughter, the more respect I have for her. I know it wasn’t easy to pull off what she did. She grew up sheltered, and was told a lot of lies. Ex did everything she could to sabotage her kids and keep them from abandoning her. She tried to cripple younger daughter. But younger daughter saw through the bullshit and had enough resilience and strength of character to break away from that mess and get out on her own. As Dr. Ramani says in her video, younger daughter was willing to do the extreme to escape a situation in which she had to suppress her need to be truthful and authentic. She turned to the church for help, went off to college with nothing but the clothes on her back, went on a mission, and made up her mind to get married and start a family. And now she can make her own choices.

However… I do wonder if Bill’s visit wasn’t traumatizing to her on some level. I wonder if she looks at him, clearly the more stable parent, and realizes that if he had raised her, her life would have been completely different. I wonder if it makes her sad that they didn’t speak for fifteen years, and she missed out on having him in her life. Having a mother who is mentally ill and narcissistic is a huge burden, but God forbid she say that out loud. She’d be called disrespectful. But it’s the truth, isn’t it?

We now know that Ex’s current husband was not a substitute for Bill. Even though Ex tried to convince Bill that #3 had fallen right into the “daddy” role and it fit like a glove, the truth was, #3’s attempt to fill Bill’s shoes was a failure. The kids were forced to call him “Dad”. Why? Because during their one and only visitation with Bill, older daughter was holding Ex’s first child with #3 ,and she pointed to Bill and said, “That’s Daddy.” #3 got very upset and jealous, and Ex told the kids that henceforth, #3 would be “Daddy”. Why? Because she didn’t want another marriage to fail… so they all had to buy into a fantasy that Bill and #1 had never existed. They’d always been a happy, cohesive family, just like the fucking Brady Bunch! It was all a crock of shit. And younger daughter knew it, even from a tender age.

These days, younger daughter doesn’t have much to do with #3. She says he isn’t in the best of health, and Ex isn’t very nice to him. But they’re still together, probably by sheer will and lots of threats on Ex’s part. She knows that finding husband #4 might be hard, and she’s done having babies. Ex’s youngest child has severe autism and may never be able to live on his own. She’s been trying to coerce her other children into promising to take care of him, even though he’s not actually their responsibility.

Years ago, I predicted that Bill would hear from his younger daughter. I knew that one day, she would approach him. I didn’t think it would be on such good terms, though. I originally suspected that because she’d been the first to reject Bill and because she was so young when Ex divorced Bill, younger daughter was the most brainwashed. However, I also suspected that she had a strong will, and she and Ex would eventually clash. And when that happened, younger daughter would approach Bill, if only to piss off her mother and rebel.

It turns out that younger daughter initially didn’t want to upset her mother. She didn’t tell her that she was talking to Bill until some time had passed. Ex eventually found out and hit the roof. She still thinks she can dictate to her adult children who they are allowed to speak to and associate with. She still thinks she has the right and ability to tell them to avoid the man she chose to make their father, even though Bill’s daughters are well past 21 years old. She sees them as extensions of herself, subject to her command, even though they’re grown women.

It must be very frustrating for Ex to lose control. It must be very sad for younger daughter to have a mother who is more interested in being in control than being a mother. For someone who feels compelled to call bullshit, it must be difficult to keep toeing the line. That’s why younger daughter got the hell out of Dodge while she could. I really can’t blame her at all. I suspect we’ll soon be hearing more truths as time passes.

Standard