Ex, narcissists, YouTube

How to effectively handle the “creators of misery” in the world…

This morning, I was watching Les Carter’s most recent video, and I had a flash of insight. Les Carter, for those who don’t know, is a psychologist in Texas who makes excellent videos about narcissists. And in the video I posted below, he describes narcissists as “creators of misery”. He says upfront that narcissists are not healthy people, and they don’t function on a rational plane. And unfortunately, narcissists “create misery” with maddening efficiency. They don’t seem to care at all about how awful they are. I think the worst thing about narcissists is that their behavior can be contagious. They infect people with their miserable behavior, and that makes people want to react in kind. Pretty soon, non-narcissistic people find themselves being dragged down to the narcissist’s level.

Once again, Les Carter shares wise counsel to those of us who are confronted by “creators of misery”…

Dr. Carter rationally explains why it’s best not to try to get “revenge” on the narcissist. They don’t care about your misery, and if you treat them the way they treat you, they’ll just ratchet up their usual tactics and continue to smear you. The best thing to do is to go “no contact”, or if that’s not possible, “grey rock” them– that is, be totally bland and boring, like a rock. It doesn’t seem fair to have to do that, though. I know that I, for one, don’t have the personality of a “grey rock”. It’s really hard for me to act like one.

Fortunately, the narcissist in my life doesn’t affect me personally. Instead, Ex visits her misery on people Bill and I care about. We are legitimately worried about people in Bill’s family who may fall prey to Ex and her usual grifting tactics. She’s grifting for money, sure, but she’s also looking for supply. It would be bad enough if she was just after money, but she also spreads misery and toxicity when she comes around. She causes pain. So this time, something does need to be done, rather than just ignoring her. But how can we effectively handle the “creator of misery” that is Ex?

I’ve mentioned more than once that my husband is a bit of a “white knight”. He tends to take responsibility for things that aren’t his responsibility. He tries to save people who don’t appreciate or deserve his efforts to save them. When he was married to Ex, he got dragged down to her level, not in terms of behaving like her, but in terms of enabling her toxicity. When she decided she wanted to conduct “ye olde surprise visit”, he went along with it. When she demanded that he allow her to handle the bills and manage the money, he let her do it, even though she created a huge financial hole that took him years to recover from. When she alienated the children and tried to sever his ties with his family of origin, he protested only slightly more. He didn’t avail himself of the law, or document her abuse. He simply sucked it up and drove on, which left her free to continue her misery creating fuckery with other innocent people.

While I can see that stooping to the narcissist’s level is ineffective and pointless, I do think there’s a difference between getting even with someone and holding them accountable when they do harm. Ex has done a LOT of harm over the years, not just to Bill, but to people connected to him. In fact, I have mentioned before that some of the things she does have “ripple effects”. I even wrote a blog post about that– calling it “Ripple eff-Ex” (see what I did there?). I don’t think I reposted the original blog post, but I did write a sequel. Since today is a light chore day, I think I’ll repost the original incarnation of that post. I think it was a pretty juicy one.

Les Carter’s video is the second one I’ve seen this week about how it’s important not to try to “get revenge” on a narcissist. The video directly below was done about a month ago by Jess Stanley, who has a great channel that is based on her experiences dating a narcissist. Jess reminded her viewers that narcissists don’t care about your feelings, and they don’t “learn lessons” when you try to “show them”. Really, all trying to get revenge does is bring you down to their level and give them narcissistic supply/attention. Always remember that attention– good or bad– is what the narcissist needs for survival.

To a narcissist, you are just a list of goods and services. No form of revenge is effective against a narcissist.

Basically, Jess says that in order to hurt a narcissist, you have to just go on with your life. And even that isn’t going to hurt them much, because they can always find someone to replace whatever you brought to them. And she’s right about that… however, I don’t think that should mean not holding them accountable when they do things that are illegal or egregiously outside the boundaries of morality.

I think there’s a big difference between holding someone accountable and exacting revenge. There’s a difference between aggressively fighting against someone or something, trying to “smear” them the way they smeared you, and being assertive and setting boundaries. We think it’s time Ex left Bill’s family alone. She has her own family, as well as her own in-laws. She should focus on them. And while Bill’s older daughter does have a legitimate claim to Bill’s family, she’s only a family member because of Bill.

Of course, just because we have these feelings, that doesn’t mean other people agree with us. And as they are supposedly competent adults, there’s nothing we can do to force Ex to leave them alone, or stop them from talking. The only thing we can control about this situation is how we react to it. So what do we do?

I’m not going to be specific about what our plans are, because I’m not stupid. I know Ex has stalked me online, and she probably still looks in. That’s kind of why I’m unabashedly writing about her now. I hope she reads this and gets super upset and …miserable. But we do have a plan, and what I’ll say about it is that the plan involves making Bill feel better about himself. He does have an action planned, but it’s not meant to hurt Ex or even protect anyone against Ex’s shenanigans. Ultimately, we accept that whatever happens will depend on what the other adults decide to do. We will simply do what we can to avoid the fallout and the guilt associated with her continual attacks.

Like I said… she’s like a bad case of herpes. Just like herpes, she pops up whenever she senses weakness in the immune system. In this case, it’s Bill’s dad’s death, the COVID nightmare, and perhaps feeling isolated and lonely for reasons other than the pandemic. Ex obviously smelled blood and came running.

Elton John has a really good song about this… Given Ex’s love of movies, I think the lyrics are especially appropriate.

“Keep your auditions for somebody who hasn’t got so much to lose…”

Lyrics

I can see by your eyes you must be lying
When you think I don’t have a clue
Baby, you’re crazy
If you think that you can fool me
Because I’ve seen that movie too

The one where the players are acting surprised
Saying love’s just a four letter word
Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes
Well their actions become so absurd

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

It’s a habit I have, I don’t get pushed around
Stop twinkling your star like you do
I’m not the blueprint
For all of your B films
Because I’ve seen that movie too

The one where the players are acting surprised
Saying love’s just a four letter word
Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes
Well their actions become so absurd

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

So keep you auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
That I’ve seen that movie too

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Ex, poor judgment, relationships

Repost: “White Knight” syndrome… 

This post was written March 2, 2012 for my original blog. I am reposting it because I made reference to “white knights” in my fresh content today. I’m providing this post as/is for context purposes. Looking at the number of comments and hits this post got on my old blog, I think it’s high time I reposted it anyway. There are a lot of “white knights” out there and they need a reality check. Incidentally, the relationship with the “white knight” in this post did not last. “Princess” has stayed with her husband. So much for the public declaration of love.

Today’s topic is one with which I am very familiar.  I am married to a so-called “White Knight”.  He is a kind, benevolent, gentle man who has a propensity toward rescuing people, especially women.  There are a lot of guys out there in the world who are “White Knights”.  They can be wonderful, supportive partners to people who are not abusive.  However, when they get involved with drama queens who exploit others, they can end up in serious trouble.

While it would be easy for me to just write about my husband’s “White Knight” syndrome, I would first rather highlight a situation I recently ran across online on one of the many message boards I troll.  I found a prime example of a post written by a guy who appears to have “White Knight” syndrome. 

Here it is, posted on Facebook for all the world to see…  I redacted names to protect the guilty. 

I love ______ with everything i have got to give. She is the most amazing woman that i have ever met. She captured my heart with her smile and the sparkle in her eyes. She engaged my mind with her wit, humor and intellect. Wicked Smaht! And she saved my soul and made me want to be a better man…not for her but for me. She is incredibly strong and a wonderful mother to five incredible kids of which i have grown quite fond. She is a PRINCESS and deserves to be treated in that manner. I LOVE YOU _____! Thank you for everything you have done for me. 

Now, bear in mind that the guy who wrote this is dating the “princess” who is referred to in this post. And the so-called “princess” is still married to her husband with whom she has five young kids. She has no doubt told this man whose heart she’s stolen that her husband is an abusive bastard. And who knows? Maybe he is a bastard. On the other hand, she is still married to him and has been with him for years. I know this because I have followed her story for years and I have seen that she has a flair for embellishment and drama.  

“Princess” does indeed have five adorable kids whose pictures she has plastered all over the Internet, along with their full names, birthdays, likes and dislikes, etcetera. She has a lot of people who support her because she comes across as very charismatic. She’s also young and attractive and has a way of making people think she’s a victim. She also has a long history of financial problems and has posted repeatedly about her many personal dramas. Despite her physical attractiveness and surface congeniality, “Princess” lives a life that seems constantly embroiled in chaos.  

Seriously.

Guys with “White Knight” syndrome are drawn like moths to a flame to women like “Princess”. She looks good. She has adorable kids. She needs HELP, because her ex or soon-to-be-ex is supposedly an abusive, irresponsible bastard. None of this situation is her fault. And she is perfectly justified in “dating” even though she is still legally married because she is such a victim and none of this is her fault! She conveniently ignores the fact that she’s a grown woman with choices and responsibilities, particularly toward her five kids. Instead of taking actions that would get her on the track to recovery and stability, she throws up her hands and wails “RESCUE ME!”

“White Knights” who encounter these types of women get swept up in the drama. They see a helpless damsel who needs them to “step up to the plate” and “save the day”. And something inside these “White Knights” prompts them to act, envisioning themselves as heroes. They feel better about themselves. The damsel in distress feels better for having been rescued. The children may or may not like the new arrangement and it may not be the best thing for them, but who cares about them, right? Because it’s all about the drama queen who never emotionally matured beyond adolescence and, to a lesser extent, the “White Knight” who has a need to feel needed and a desire to rescue someone. But what happens after the great rescue? Reality sets in. 

My husband rescued his ex wife and her eldest son. She showed up on his doorstep in Germany after my husband had a chance encounter with his ex’s first husband on a military airplane on the way back to Germany. The three of them had gone to high school together; ex had supposedly married her first husband as a means of escaping her abusive mother. She had a son with him, but later claimed that her first husband was “crazy” and “abusive”. When the ex and her child showed up in Germany, she was still married to her ex husband. But she tearfully told my husband tales of woe about her disastrous marriage. She alluded to her first husband’s abusive treatment of their son. She rationalized that because her husband was so abusive, she was perfectly justified in cheating on him. She laid it on thick and sweet and my husband, who suffered from low self-esteem and poor self-image as well as an overly large heart, bought her stories hook, line, and sinker. That was his first huge mistake.  

My husband and Ex eventually got married once Ex got divorced. My husband was quickly assimilated into the “dad” role to his ex wife’s son. By the time the kid was six, his real father was completely out of the picture and didn’t even pay child support. Ex also somehow managed to change the boy’s name. Meanwhile, Ex, who had claimed to be on birth control, got pregnant within a couple of months of marrying my husband. Bear in mind that at the time, she had no income and my husband was a junior officer in the Army who also wasn’t making much money. Getting married, stepping into daddy role, and not insisting on condoms were my husband’s second, third, and fourth big mistakes.

A couple of years after my husband’s daughter was born, Ex got pregnant again. Again, she claimed that the birth control had failed. My husband’s second daughter was born and their finances were about to get worse because Ex wanted my husband to leave the Army. She said she didn’t want to live the military lifestyle, moving from place to place. For a number of reasons, my husband’s career wasn’t going so well back then. He agreed to leave the Army. They moved from Washington State to a town in Arkansas, where my husband had an awful time finding a suitable job. Meanwhile Ex had a lot of trouble holding down employment and would frequently complain about how she didn’t want the kids being raised in daycare, hence justifying staying unemployed.

Soon, my “White Knight” husband was doing a lot of the housework, earning most of the money, and taking care of the kids, when he wasn’t working second shift in a factory making $25,000 a year. At one point, Ex moved her younger sister in with the family. The younger sister also had no job, but she did have a daughter. Soon, my husband was supporting seven people on a tiny salary. As you might imagine, things went to hell in a hand basket from a financial standpoint. But my husband stayed committed to the woman he had “saved” and their kids together.

When my husband finally wised up and decided he needed to get back into the Army full-time, the marriage quickly crumbled. And before he knew it, my husband’s beloved daughters and the “son” he had informally adopted all hated him due to things Ex had told them about him. Ex was also trying hard to ruin my husband’s relationships with his parents.  

It was during this period of crisis that my husband found me, at the time, very single. Our relationship developed platonically and online over a couple of years, which is probably why we still get along so fabulously. And maybe I have a touch of “White Knight” syndrome myself… because common sense should have told me NOT to get involved with him. However, I did get involved and ended up with a wonderful supportive “White Knight” for a husband. Our marriage has been very good, but it hasn’t been without cost. It’s taken years to recover from the financial mess my husband was in when he was with his “damsel in distress”. He has lost contact with his kids… which may actually be a blessing in disguise, since it means we have no contact with their mother, either.  

Meanwhile, the cycle has started anew with Ex’s third marriage and two youngest kids. No doubt Ex’s current husband has heard all sorts of horrible things about my husband and he’s probably dumb enough to believe her without even using his common sense or powers of logic. Ex is uncannily persuasive and believable. Even after all he had been through, my husband was still believing a lot of his ex wife’s bullshit when we first got married. It’s taken years for him to move past the fog and see the truth. Meanwhile, my husband’s “son” has reunited with his biological father, the man who was supposedly so abusive to him when he was a little boy that he needed a name change. “Son”, by the way, has changed his name back to what it originally was and has no contact with the man he called “dad” for most of his life.  

As for the “White Knight” and “Princess” I wrote of at the beginning of this post, well… I have heard that maybe their relationship has gone a bit rocky. If so, it’s probably a blessing for the gallant knight, who will have no doubt dodged a bullet. It’s a pity that the Princess’s young kids have bonded with this man, since he will no doubt be going away at some point. If he doesn’t do it now, it will happen some time in the future. These “damsel” types never like to stay rescued for long. They love the high drama of being in a crisis and being swept to safety by some kind-hearted guy. After a few minutes of being wrapped in a loving blanket of kindness and support and given a nice mug of sweet love to warm them, a true damsel will jump back into the sea of despair, waiting for the next “White Knight” to come along and rescue her.  

I have a lot of empathy for “White Knights”. I wish they would take some time for self-reflection and save themselves. It’s admirable to want to “step up to the plate” and sometimes “White Knights” really can end up rescuing an appreciative woman and her children. But I would caution anyone who feels the need to “rescue” to step back, take a deep breath, and take stock. You can’t save anyone who doesn’t want to save themselves. And you can’t truly replace an absentee parent. Don’t kid yourself. Being a “White Knight” is a thankless job that will get you nowhere.

For more on this subject, I recommend reading Dr. Tara J. Palmatier’s excellent blog, Shrink4Men.

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Ex

Love bombing 101… lather, rinse, repeat…

Happy April Fool’s Day, y’all… In honor of the day, I’m about to write about a real fool. I know some people won’t understand why I’m writing this. Some might even think I’m a terrible person for writing this. I don’t care. I’m going to write it anyway, because I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in progress, and I need to process it.

Some readers might know the backstory, which is easily found here on this blog. Other people don’t know the backstory, and maybe they don’t care. As my friend Weird Wilbur says, “that’s very fine.” And some clueless people might want to tell me this is none of my business. And, in fact, they would be right. It isn’t my business, really… other than the effect it has on people in my husband’s family and, to a lesser extent, my husband himself.

For those who need a backstory primer, click here and here. Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the history of this sad tale of woe. It’s just the most recent, heartbreaking chapter of a very long, dramatic, poorly written novel of toxic, narcissistic abuse. This story began in the early 1980s and it continues to this day.

So anyway, about a month ago, I wrote a post called “The seaglasshole is at it again”. In that post, I noted that my husband’s ex wife had started a crowdfund. Below are some screenshots. You can easily see how the crowdfunding effort went.

You can see that no one, besides Ex, contributed any money to her fence building campaign. Ex also had a birthday last month, and it came to our attention that she, my husband’s estranged older daughter, and her daughter with #3 (her current husband) all took a trip down to Tennessee to see my husband’s stepmother. Ex lives in New Hampshire, and gas prices are at an all time high. I suppose it’s possible that she and the girls took a flight, but knowing Ex, I’m guessing they took a road trip. I find that to be an interesting decision on many levels. She needs $5500 for a fence, but she has enough money to donate $500 to her own campaign, and she has the money to go to Tennessee, along with two of her daughters. Either way, it’s telling. Obviously, she didn’t need the money that badly.

I noticed that after her “visit” with my husband’s stepmother, Ex quietly removed the link to her crowdfunding campaign from her very public social media accounts. I have a feeling she did that because she talked my husband’s bereaved stepmother, whose beloved husband died in November 2020, into giving her some money. And you know… I don’t think that is a wise decision on SMIL’s part, especially since SMIL has, on more than one occasion, told us sad stories about how she’s given Ex money or gifts that were never appreciated. But I don’t know what SMIL’s situation is right now. I suspect she’s lonely and needs attention. And Ex is all too happy to give it to her in the form of a love bomb.

Well… last night, Bill took a look at Facebook, which he doesn’t do very often, because he can’t seem to log into it on his iPad. He’s only able to see Facebook on his phone. He noticed that his SM had unfriended him. And then I found the below tweets on Ex’s public Twitter account.

Oh Ex… how low have you sunk this time?

Notice the very first tweet. She refers to her “mum”, who is 71 and just crossed an item off her bucket list. SMIL, who is 71 years old, just went to California, where I suspect she saw the Golden Gate Bridge. The photo Ex was reacting to was of the Golden Gate Bridge. Also… Ex is 55 years old, and we know that her adoptive mother is dead, and her bio mom was a married woman who had an affair. So, I can assume that Ex is now claiming Bill’s very Italian stepmother as her “mum” (Ex fancies herself a Scot).

Now… I don’t actually give a shit if Ex and SMIL have become “chums”. I can’t control who SMIL invites into her home, and she’s supposedly a functioning adult. She does have an adopted daughter who is a very good person, though, and I am worried that Ex will do her best to take advantage of SMIL. And then, SMIL could potentially end up in a situation that might make her a burden to other people.

Think this is a far fetched theory? Consider that Ex compelled Bill’s daughters to drop out of school when they were teenagers and get G.E.Ds. Then she got them to enroll in college and take out massive student loans, which she then proceeded to skim money from. My husband’s younger daughter has only just recently managed to pay off the debt, and she does NOT have a degree to show for it. Older daughter, we’re told, went to a very expensive private school, but she’s 30 years old, still lives with her mother, and takes care of her brother… the one Ex claims they need to erect a fence for. We’ve also heard that #3’s mom also lives with Ex and probably serves in an “Aunt Edna” capacity (reference National Lampoon’s Vacation). Maybe she looked after the boy while Ex and her adult daughters were visiting Bill’s stepmother.

My husband’s former wife has a very long history of being a parasite. She uses people for money and narcissistic supply, and anyone who figures out who she is and what she does gets cast out. But she never completely lets go of anyone. She’s still engaging with Bill’s family, even though she’s made false accusations about Bill, and they have been divorced for 22 years. I think if I weren’t around, she’d try to engage with Bill. Again, she never totally burns bridges.

Ex kept in contact with her first ex husband’s family, too. She used them to try to hurt Bill in 2009, when we busted her then 21 year old son trying to change his last name in secret, as he was also being paid child support by Bill. Bill never legally adopted his former stepson, but Ex somehow changed his name to Bill’s and convinced Bill to pay child support for him. She alienated her son from his bio dad and he didn’t pay child support for his son; that was up to Bill, who legally, was never more than his stepdad and, at this point, is now just an acquaintance. Bill loved that boy as his own and didn’t mind paying support for him. But he did feel that since he was paying support and the lad was calling him “Dad”, he should have been informed of his decision to reclaim his original last name.

SMIL knows all about this. She knows that Ex is capable of incredibly low depths. Apparently, she doesn’t care. Either that, or she has dementia. I don’t think she has dementia, though. I think she’s feeling angry and abandoned, and engaging with Ex is her self-destructive way of lashing out at her family– Bill and, perhaps, her daughter, who I know has recently connected with her bio mom. But, I’m afraid she’s only hurting herself, and perhaps her daughter.

Now, there’s really nothing we can do about SMIL’s decision to be Ex’s “flying monkey”/ally. That’s her decision, and her business. My only concern is that SMIL is going to wind up burdening innocent people.

I don’t like to see people being victimized and manipulated… and I have seen the abuse cycle enough times to know what’s going on here. If things go as usual, eventually SMIL and Ex will have a falling out. She will be discarded AGAIN, and her family will be left to pick up the pieces in the wake of Ex’s latest campaign. You can bet on it.

I’ve seen this before. Photo is public domain.

It’s at times like these that I’m so glad we live on another continent. But, I have to give props to Bill, who has told me that this time, he is disinclined to be a “white knight”. He won’t be climbing up on his figurative horse, riding in, and saving the day this time. This time, he’s going to detach. So I hope SMIL knows what she’s doing. And I hope her daughter does what she can to protect herself from the fallout from Hurricane Sabrina.

I am watching an old episode of Dr. Phil this morning. I don’t really like Dr. Phil per se, but I do think this episode is an interesting one, mainly because the dynamic between the guests is somewhat like what we’ve dealt with. Bill was never in arrears with his child support obligations, though. In fact, he went above and beyond. And Ex is still trying to exploit his resources by glomming on to his family. Shame on her.

I relate to the guy in this story. To Bill’s credit, he never went as far as this guy has. But his anger is understandable.
When will the next phase in the cycle of abuse begin…

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