The vacation zen is making it hard to focus.
I’m short on words but long on photos.
Looking through the 300-plus photos, I started laughing at how much cactus is like a narcissist. Continue reading →
Whether it comes from years of looking inward, or years of not seeing clearly, I don’t know. Their eyes take on a cloudiness that makes it look like they have a difficult time focusing on the rest of the world.
You will feel yourself fighting the urge to hold a magnifying glass between yourself and the Narcissist, but it won’t help. If you aren’t careful, they’ll use the magnifying glass against you. They’ll find your flaws and use them to illustrate the fact that they are superior to you.
She hadn’t planned to turn her back on herself. She didn’t wake up one morning and say, “This feels like the right day to put myself aside for this relationship.”
It just happened.
Like so many things just happen.
At his address, the toys are neatly put away, the art supplies stay tucked in the cupboard and the towels are folded the minute the dryer buzzes.
At her address, the toys are everywhere, the baby dolls have dinner with the family, the art supplies are never tucked away because they are used constantly and the clean towels are grabbed out of the laundry basket on the way to the shower.
Dinner at his house is something adults would enjoy eating and kids would pick around while hoping to get a PBJ after the dishes are done. Around the table in the orderly dining room, more attention is paid to manners and less to conversation.
Dinner at her house is about coming together, helping with the prep, making sure there’s something on the table that each person will eat, and moving art supplies to make room for plates. There might be a gentle reminder about not talking with a mouthful of macaroni. There will be lots of laughing, stories of the day, and sometimes a few tears. Continue reading →
As I reached the top of the hill, she approached from the other side.
“Hey, you!” Even though I knew she walked in my neighborhood, we’d never run into each other before.
She said, “Hey, yourself! I never walk this time of the day.”
I said, “I usually try to walk in the morning, but the day got away from me.”
She said, “I didn’t walk this morning because I finished your book.”
(Later, when telling a mutual friend of that afternoon’s chance encounter he said, “I suppose you both saw significance in running into each other at the top of the hill.” I laughed and said, “Well, of course we did!”
She is an acquaintance and a published author.
While I wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that we ought not write to please mom, or a partner or whoever we are trying to please at the time, there is something unsettling about having an author read my first book.
I wanted to plug my ears at this point, or at least run back down the hill to avoid hearing what she had to say.
Before I could turn to run she said, “I loved the format! The quotes and pictures round out the whole message. How is it selling?”
Then she said, “Your message will find the right people. You explored the healthy side of selfishness – about how many of our difficulties can be linked to our not taking care of self – putting ourselves last. You showed how that balance is necessary. There’s a lot written about that right now. It’s a good time for your voice on that subject.”
We spontaneously hugged as a I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked her profusely.
As I walked her back to her house, she said, “You know why you ended up with him, don’t you?”
Because I was still riding the high of her kind words – and admittedly not listening – I said, “Huh? Who?”
She said, “The narcissist. Do you know why you ended up with the narcissist?”
My usual answer to this question is, “I ended up with Mark so that my life would be graced by the presence of Will and Jenny.”
What other sane reason could there be?
This time I didn’t offer that explanation. I said, “Why do you think I married a narcissist?”
She said, “Because you needed to learn self-care.”
It feels good typing the title of this post.
I hope you like Fritos. We’re also serving lemonade because, well, we have all those lemons. I have to enjoy a little wine on a birthday. Jenny is throwing confetti. Will is tech decking in the background.
And there’s gratitude flowing through the room
It’s the 2nd birthday here at survivingnarcissism.com.
I don’t know how it happened.
Yes! We’ve journeyed through another year on this blog. Continue reading →
He said he’d be here at 9:oo a.m.
Then he changed his mind.
He didn’t want to do what the kids wanted to do so he said, “I’m not coming at nine. I don’t want to go where they want to go.”
The kids called and sent texts asking why he didn’t want to go where they wanted to go.
He avoided answering calls and texts.
I went to his house to ask him why he is manipulating the kids in this way.
He refused to answer the door. Continue reading →
She gets off the phone and sighs and says, “Dad says he’ll go to the park with me for a little bit, but he doesn’t want to stay too long because he gets bored.”
He comes back from riding his bike around the block and says, “How come dad doesn’t ever want to do what we want to do? If he does finally do what we like, he mopes and pouts and tells us he has to get going.”
He shows up at the house with a new baseball mitt for him, and nothing for her.
He sits on the step and pretends to listen to her talk about her imaginary pony until an adult walks up. Once he sees the opportunity a new audience provides, he stands, turns to this new person and tells him tales of mountain bike rides and how many hours he logs at the office. Realizing that he is no longer listening, she looks down and continues drawing her pony.
He tells me that he’d like to call his dad and tell him about how high his ollies are now, but his dad doesn’t listen and act excited. He’s thinking that maybe his dad says that it’s cool that he loves skateboarding, but he can feel that his dad is pretending to care.
They have both told me that they don’t know why they can’t be themselves around their dad. They don’t show him their silly sides or their tired sides, or the side-splitting funny sides because they fear he won’t approve.
It’s exhausting having to be perfect all the time.
It’s no fun pretending to be something you aren’t all the time.
“How come he doesn’t want to love who we really are?”
After the last visit, he turned to me and said, “I think they’d want to spend more time with me if they weren’t missing you while they were with me.”
Last week I got a word salad in my inbox. Whether in oral form or written form, I’ve taken to mentally and physically preparing myself before making my way through these salads. If he’s delivering the word salad to me in person, I usually prop myself up against a door frame.
History has taught me to settle in, because these can take awhile.
If the word salad is in written form, I usually make myself a fresh cup of coffee and find a comfortable chair.
Last week’s sermon was about the difficulties he was experiencing trying to get the kids stuff for Easter. Within the run-on sentences about, “I just don’t know what they like…” and “They are growing up so fast…” I found a sentence that made my blood boil.
“… I understand that they aren’t supposed to come over to my house.” Continue reading →
“Oh, sweetie! You should have seen the darling little eight year old girl who wanted to dance with me at the meeting. She had long curly blond hair, and a big beautiful smile. I know her parents. She came up to me, jumped in my lap and asked me to dance with her. She was a really good dancer, too.” Mark could hardly contain himself when telling Jenny of the story of the little girl who fell in love with him.
He quickly switched gears and said, “Jenny, honey, we’re getting ready to go. Shouldn’t you find socks that match? Let’s go look in your dresser drawer to see if we can find two socks that match.”
“Daddy, you told me to hurry, so I just grabbed the first two socks I saw. I’m wearing boots, Daddy. No one will see that my socks don’t match.”
“Isn’t that funny that you wear mismatched socks. Did you brush your hair today?”
“Yes, Daddy, I just brushed it.” Continue reading →
The leather gloves next to the stove, and the fire within, are the only indications of steady use. The wood stove is free of ashes, spent embers, bits of bark and any other signs of use, yet the fire roars continuously. The glass door is spotless as if he replaced it yesterday after he’d slammed the door too hard in a fit of anger and frustration.
It’s a difficult job keeping the fire stoked in an effort to heat the whole house and make sure his family sleeps warm in their beds. The house does not have a furnace.
As he sits in the broken rocking chair – the Throne of The Fire Tender – he contemplates the turns his life has taken. He ticks off the series of choices that led to his current position. Every winter night that he spends tending the fire, he has an opportunity to re-evaluate the decisions he made.
He validates some choices while picking apart others.
The list never changes. Continue reading →
Jenny selected the shiny brown bowl circled by a ring of cobalt blue. She hoped I would love it, and I did. She was excited to give the bowl to me as a gift. The ceramic bowl is the perfect size for almonds or pretzels.
Her older brother makes some unusual pieces, and when he has a bunch of new bowls fired, we get to pick whatever he hasn’t set aside for others.
Two days ago, Mark and Will came home from skiing. They told us of the adventures of the day, the trees they narrowly missed, the jumps they landed perfectly, and the ones they didn’t land so well. They made plans for the next skiing adventure and Mark headed for the door.
With his hand on the doorknob, Mark turned to me and said, “Hey Jess, you know that bowl that Jenny gave you – the brown with the blue stripe? Can I have it? I have a set of three and it matches my set. I know Jenny gave it to you as a gift, but I wondered if you’d mind trading that for a different piece so I could have a matching set of four bowls.” Continue reading →
Monday, I received an email from Mark. In the email he told me that Jen and Will are truly amazing children, and he thanked me for doing such a great job raising them.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Continue reading →
Late Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to enjoy a guilty pleasure. My kids were gone. I got a break from being a role model. I sat at the table in front of my laptop reading blog posts, while dipping Fritos in chili.
It was a little slice of heaven.
Yes, that is a big deal for me.
I can’t eat when I’m nervous. Continue reading →