Thursday, July 19, 2012


I'm hearing more and more that people I know are discovering this blog. Friends, family, etc.

I hope this blog is decent explanation as to why I used to operate the way I did, and I'm really not sorry for what happened to me, but I'm definitely sorry that I've treated some people the way I did through all of it. I've been kind of selfish and judgmental for quite a few years, assuming that people couldn't and wouldn't understand what I was going through, and it's time for me to stop playing around, pointing fingers, etc.

If I needed people to understand, I should have stopped just assuming I was life's victim and explained myself. I should have said I was confused and embarrassed and in pain. I should have explained that I irrationally felt like people were judging me and should have definitely stopped evading the fact that I'm imperfect. There are quite a few people whose forgiveness I don't really expect, but I'd definitely be ecstatic to have.

There are those few who gave me their time, advice, worry, love, etc. and I spent too much time reminding myself I was non-deserving and a victim of judgment from every angle and I burned those bridges.

I want to take the time to tell you I appreciate all of the emotional effort you put into me, and although I refused it at the time, I recognize all of the strain my guilt has put you through.

I'm going to make a much more dedicated effort to letting you know that I love your friendship and want you in my life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This post has to be brief because I have some things going on at work, and I have a whole bunch of budgeting and planning to do.

DH and I found a place to live yesterday that is actually PERFECT but is stretching the budget in ways that are profound. We're going to try to make it work by making sure both of us pick up enough work time to cover everything we have to cover.

Like I've mentioned before, I'm going to get some assistance from my aunt and my uncle who live close to where we're living, and that help is going to make such a difference in so many ways.

Stay tuned for budgeting and photos, etc.

Sorry to be so quick!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guilt, Revisited

Yesterday, I was given a blessing. My aunt and uncle offered to help me absolve my credit card debt in one sign of a pen. They also let me know they'd cosign on an apartment with DH and me/pay for deposit and first month's rent so we can get a move on with our life and start saving money for things that matter like buying a house (instead of playing catch up for the next 10 years with my bills). This was supposed to be a very exciting time. With my PTSD and intense need to fall back into the attitude of a DoNM in mind, though, you can imagine this was a lot for me to bear.

I feel like I asked for too much and like I'm really undeserving of anyone's help.

I feel like I'm being greedy and playing a victim that needs a handout.

DH did not appreciate my negative attitude in a time where I should be overflowing with great joy. We talked about how it is instinct for me to feel guilty when I receive help because that's how my NM made me feel like I was supposed to be. Most importantly, however, he told me the only way to recover from what is happening to me is to stop taking the mindset of a victim.

Although his tough love is necessary, I feel like I'm not there yet. Like I just put this on the top shelf and forgot about it, instead of actually acknowledging all of the things that have happened to me and how I feel about NM/the situation. If I can't define how I'm feeling, I can't get over it.

I have to read Dr. McBride's book "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?" again and continue to write about how I'm feeling to really approach recovery. Maybe then I can finally tell myself that I deserve love and kindness and I can start feeling happy.

Has something like this ever happened to you?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reaching Out and my Graduation Party

I've been hoping that this blog will serve as a connection for suffering DoNMs that find solace in knowing they are not alone. I'm hoping to hear similar stories to mine about how your NM or NF ruined your day or your wedding or your graduation. I'm hoping to hear about the constant burden of your own thoughts on your happiness. We truly aren't alone in this journey, and I think knowing that others are going through the same thing is relieving, to say the least.

 I'm going to start off with a story, and maybe you'll hear in it a story that sounds almost like yours and you can share yours.

When I graduated from college, my NM *insisted* we had to have a party (note: this party happened about a year later when things were "more convenient for her"). I, having graduated early, insisted it was not necessary to coordinate any big festivities as I was already working and really didn't have the time or energy to really involve myself in planning a party I would like (note 2: a graduation party is supposed to be in the style the graduate would like). So of course she decided to take matters into her own hands and coordinate the entire thing herself, and ultimately therefore to her own personal liking at not mine. I figured this would have happened anyway, whether I was an interested party in this or not, so I decided to not really care and just let her N not affect my daily business.

She ended up deciding to throw the party at an EXTREMELY fancy NYC establishment that is stuffy and reminds me of old Italian people and general snootiness. The walls are oak-paneled and whittled cherubs and acanthus leaves line the walls (along with gold-leafed crap and marble catch my drift.) Anyone would tell you this was in direct contrast to any party I had envisioned, which would have probably included a tent, a backyard, and a LOT of Bacardi Mojito. I had to comment on my general discontent with this place, as I was hoping to invite friends and not all of them can afford the kind of gifts or attire a place like this establishment would suggest...a lot of them wouldn't come simply on the fact that it was too uppity for them. This was a problem my NM was anticipating, and probably reveled in excitement that I could only invite my seemingly wealthy friends who would give me gifts. Perhaps one of my rich male friends would even propose. Who knows how her mind works...I digress.

I was dating DH at the time and he had moved up to be with me in NY. Clearly, after all of the negative things she had heard about him through a mutual friend trying to be a horrible person, he was not going to be invited. He couldn't afford a proper suit anyway, she must have thought! The issue with the fact that I was going to be forced to leave him at home is something that still eats at him to this day.

When it came time for music, I knew I had it in the bag. My long time friend is a DJ (and even fits into her rich kid category!) and I was hoping he'd coordinate the music so I could at least tolerate the night. At this point, NM's N energy was on full-blast and she hired her own live band who play exclusively old time music with a focus on Sinatra. I think I wanted to die at this point. I wasn't able to choose the food, my guests, the drinks, my outfit, the music....NM didn't even care that I was unhappy. Think of the gifts, she'd tell me. Yeah, they were the only reason I was going to go. I was going to get the money and the items and pay off my debt and perhaps have a little surplus to survive until I got the hell out of there.

Fast forward to the actual night when I was forced to kiss DH goodbye and see his misery (I REALLY didn't want to cause massive commotion and not show up to my own party), and reluctantly endured the misery of mingling with people that make my stomach turn. Thankfully, there were a few people there that were enjoyable (coworkers, godbrother, one cousin), but besides that, it was the executed plan on NM in all of her glory. This was a fancy cocktail event from hell. It was a gathering of old rich people who liked to rub each others egos -- my NM and EF's lawyers, accountants, and wealthy friends. I could have thrown up. The music was horrible and I couldn't hide my disgust from them. I left as quickly as I could (NM had had a little bit to drink so she was a little more normal), and when she asked me how I liked the "amazing party she threw for me", I told her what I felt. I had a miserable time, I came for the gifts, and it is a shame that she can't get her ego together and let her children have their glory. Clearly that did not go over well with her, and her frustration with the fact that I could not be what she wanted culminated in that night. Since then, she has been plotting my eviction, a breakup between me and DH (didn't work so well!!), and my financial instability that would potentially drive me into the ground (again, didn't work so well!).

I probably should have stood up for myself more effectively, but I've learned a few things since then as my relationship with DH and his family has developed.

Do you have a story about your NM or NF's ridiculousness?

Check out this ridiculous family photo. It's like the mafia rebirth.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grandmom and My Refreshed Lesson

DH and I went to spend some time with DH's grandmother this weekend. (MIL's mom). After getting into way too much conversation about her new chihuahua and his adorable mannerisms (aka the boring stuff you talk about when you're first spending time with someone), finally we made it into conversation about her past and the memories she has of being a wife, raising a family, the kinds of jobs she has had, her parents and growing up in war times, etc. They were the real stories of people (including herself) who have suffered through ups and downs, happiness and poverty, youth and age, single life, children, the whole nine yards. Let me tell you: I soak this kind of stuff up. I love old people, even the cranky ones. I told DH and I will repeat myself over and over again, I could sit with her all day and listen. It's like a time machine...only cuter.**

Like she told me the story of how her father had to change jobs and moved from a tin manufacturing plant to a weapons making facility for the war and how that changed his income and sense of family the war directly affected this community and her family. He was a good man but he grew tired after the war came. She told another about  how she worked operating a switchboard and how she loved the sense of independence she got from having her own career even though it changed the relationship between her and her husband. I could go on and on, but the woman has just told so many stories this weekend, I can barely keep track! What made it even better was the fact that she took out all her jewelry, clothes and photos and showed them off with so much pride. One necklace she still has was a gift that her father gave to her mother the day she was born because she was their first child -- that necklace is 80 years old! We were there until around 10pm on Saturday AND Sunday (we came back to help her move her bed), and even then I didn't want to leave!

It's just different than what I'm used to, though, because she didn't show things off because of their value, but because they were really meaningful to her in a way that has stuck over many decades. In my family, it is custom to show things off because they were expensive or made some indication toward their wealth (ie their rarity, the fact that xyz celebrity from who knows when owned the same thing). This was definitely not the same thing. Even my own grandmother who I admired for her confident attitude, beauty, style and grace was definitely a severe N. No wonder it rubbed off on my own mother -- her mother taught her that the woman, while center of the household, is also center of the universe in compensation for her actions. What ridiculousness. 

DH's grandmom showed me things that she was proud of because she loved them or because they made a positive gesture towards her children and grandchildren. She collects porcelain dolls and Barbies that she finds pretty, and people have given her some over the years to add to her collection as well. It was an excellent change of pace that definitely reminded me that I have a new family to love.

She even gave me her reproduction of the 1960's Solo in the Spotlight Barbie, the only reproduction that has come out since then. I don't even care about its value, it must be such a tough thing to part with your collection and fear that it is going into hands that don't understand its meaning. I am so thankful and plan to keep that in my room or my little girl's room (if I ever have one, I hope and pray that it's not for a while!)

We even talked about crocheting and I'm going to practice and try to make her a blanket in return for the Barbie, I think that would be a nice gesture.

Anyway, I was reminded that money has nothing to do with the impact and legacy you can leave for people (right now she lives almost exclusively on her social security income, etc.), and there are just some people who can't help but spread their cuteness and people take advantage of that. People forget that she just wants company and wants to share her memories--some unnamed individuals sit and keep their ears open while their eyes are on the goods she may leave them when she passes. I choose not to live that way. I was also reminded of why I love DH because it was just instinct for him to help her (getting her bedroom rearranged to get more AC circulating around, buying her groceries, closing some unused vents, etc.) and that need in him isn't going to get extinguished because he is tired. He expects nothing in return except love from his family and I plan on extending that to our relationship for a long time.

It is just these little things that keep me on the right track.

Stay tuned for my terrible attempt at crocheting. ;)

**Cuteness in old people comes from the fact that a) they hobble b) they say things like, "golly gee!" and "dag nammit!" and c) their ears are big, to name a few.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dreamboard, Cont.

So far, this is what I've come up with for my dream board (courtesy of I'm really not a person who dreams in grandiose fantasies; rather, I'd just like to have a life where I love my job, my family, my pets, and can find the time for some own personal introspection and peace. I'd like to be able to expand my mind and read some Jane Austen again and perhaps delve back into philosophy and other things that make one well-rounded (aka a class you were annoyed by when you were in college freshman year). Most importantly, I want to be able to get back to (at least around) the city I love, perhaps settle down in the suburbs of New York (maybe Long Island somewhere), and at least come to terms with the relationship I've had with my parents. I want to confidently stand on my own two feet (financially, emotionally, etc.) and take care of both my physical and mental health instead of constantly dreading what people think and the guilt I feel for not being perfect. I want DH to stop getting discouraged and remember I feed off of positivity and easily fall into traps of despair, self deprecation and pessimism because it is what I'm used to.

I just really want to get into a mindset where my analytical self and my emotional self can be in agreement with each other. Where I'm happy to be me and perfectly content with not being exactly what others want.

Every day, this task is a challenge. I face bouts of discouragement from financial strain, disagreements with DH that seem to last for eons, family issues, trust issues, and definitely a lot of self loathing and way too much personal critiquing. I'm trying to work on getting everything rolling in a positive direction so I can wake up one day and realize I did it.

Can't wait to say those words: I did it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dream Board/My Boss

I've decided that I've been too discouraged lately. I've been swamped with emotions of abandonment, loss, frustration, anxiety, confusion, exhaustion....all over a plethora of grandiose issues like my relationship with my family, DH, IL's, boss at work...the list can go on and on. I can feel myself slipping into bad posture, fatigue, etc. and I know this is not a path I want to go down. I need to dig deep and find a way to make sure I remain on track so I can see MY dreams realized.

This evening when I get home from work, I'm going to create a dream board and share it with everyone. It will include clippings of quotes I love, images that inspire me, and it will stand for everything I believe in and everything that I want. This way, when I'm feeling discouraged, I can look at the pictures I've included on the board and feel a re-inspired "me" beneath all the yuckiness.

Stay tuned for that.

In other news, I have to say that I've discovered that my new boss is a bit of an N. He enjoys yelling at telling other people how insignificant and stupid they are, and have brought many of my co-workers to tears now (another one quit). For example, he told my coworker that she messed up issuing a check when he sat with her and helped her do it. Afterwards, he told her that the only answer he wanted to the issue was that "she was wrong and apologetic." She conceded, but found herself as confused and frustrated as I had been many times in my life with my NM. It is strange, but I have to say my experience with my out-of-control NM has made the situation easier for me to handle and allows me to move on with my day because...for lack of a better phrase...I've had it worse. I know how to deal with someone who thinks he or she said and done everything perfectly and can't admit their mistakes. NM is the queen of that. She'd tell me she said something that she didn't and I'd be stuck with the blame. He kind of does the same thing, especially to the other woman that works with me (who is a doll and listens to all of my griping for an unnaturally long amount of time). This is cake to me. However, the issue I'm grappling with right now is whether I should have to put up with people like that. Maybe they find me and feed off of my subordinate nature while facing authority. DH says I should stick around and see how it continues, as I'm not really the one who has had the major issues with him. That's what I'm going to go with right now, and I'm going to rely on his fresh insight to tell me if the situation goes south. Knowing me, I'd probably stick it out forever, even if I were miserable and never got a raise, because I'd probably think I deserved it. Good thing I can recognize this issue now, at least that's a step in the right direction.

To all of you who are struggling with NMs and NFs, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Brother

This weekend was pretty normal, got rid of my watch that I didn't want anymore (it had some pretty significant wear and tear also) for quite a bit of money, found an effective way to budget, actually got to sit and have a normal meal with DH...I was feeling good.

I even did a bunch of ab stomach hurts today but in a good way. Godbrother insisted that it will make me feel better and help me clear my mind. I agree with that to a degree, but post-abs, enter random unexpected terrible feelings of loss, most specifically about GC brother and my effective mama, life-long babysitter/au pair/whatever you want to call her.

I feel so shitty that I don't know what my brother is up to, even though he is definitely GC and would probably step over my dead body to get what he wanted. It's not even really that I think knowing what he was doing would be gratifying, I just feel like I am such a shit sister for not sacrificing myself to see him happy. This sacrificial lamb thing is very typical of DoNM's and it took quite a bit of reprimanding from DH to get me into a better place. He would have reached out to me, DH insists, or found a way to tell me it was going to be okay in secret. He is so secretive otherwise; he knows how to take the car without them knowing and basically barely get in trouble for anything he does by grossly rubbing NM's and EF's egos. If only I had known how to use this tactic properly, but I can't help being honest and emotionally driven.

So, I'm going to write GC brother a letter, and if he finds it via the way of the internet one of these days, so be it.


The guilt I carry in what I feel was "leaving you behind" is phenomenal. It kills me so often to realize that I don't know what's going on with your exams for college, where you are interested in applying, your fears and excitement about the process, how school is going, what girls you're into for the next 24 hours (which we know happens all the time), etc. The circumstances don't allow me to be the sister I wish I could be.

Nothing can describe the love I wish I could give to you, brother; so many times I've thought of compromising my own happiness to make sure that you had your happiness, your safety, your long and fulfilling life. However, I've come to realize you have a lot of growing to do. I'm not sure if you'll realize one day why I did what I did, but for right now you are interested in your own personal advancement, which clearly means you have to agree with everything that NM and EF say. I am left to do nothing but wait, to see if you are just young and not understanding of the situation, or whether that's really the personality you want to pursue. If that's really how you want to continue, I do not wish to point fingers, but I'll have to remain cut off from you also.

Til then, I am here with my arms open, waiting for you to be my brother, nothing more, nothing less.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Well, my blog is definitely not as fun or as optimistic as my godbrother's  blog (Side note: are godbrothers even real, or is he just my friend at this point?). I get poor and I'm whining like a child about it....he gets leukemia and is making everyone laugh.  I feel really stupid now. (Go to his blog at Eff Leukemia)

But really though, I've discovered the severity of this financial bind as everything came to a head with the IL's yesterday. More parental issues to add to the bag. FIL telling DH that he is terrible for all sorts of reasons like his work ethic etc. etc. Too bad he actually has vertigo and doesn't want to do any damage to himself or the materials he works with until he sees the doctor and feels such a sense of embarrassment and feels totally insufficient around him all the time. Maybe DH is SoNF? Fast forward to today, submitted an application for health insurance, but oh! that will take two weeks. Fun. So we're basically stuck in this financial limbo right now where I literally have to allocate every dollar to where it is going to go during the week and that is simply not fun business. He doesn't have the freedom of the money he was making at the moment because he has a hard time moving his head too quickly! Gahhh!  However, I found a budgety-type spreadsheet on The Peaceful Mom's website that is going to help me do that. Between the both of us, after I pay for all of the nonsense I have to pay for to play catch up, we have like, $100 each which is tolerable but also ridiculous for grown adults. I had to take this job at the salary I did because times are tough and the economy is a piece of shit.

Hopefully the savings will start adding up and I'll have to worry less. I don't even know where to begin with my worries right now. I feel like I did when I was living with my parents all of a sudden. And that's never good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Money, money, money

So, in the past couple of days I've had to think a lot about my financial situation, as I've mentioned. I come from a place where things were essentially handed to me (although it was in exchange for reverence and fear), and so ultimately I've found myself in a very weird situation. I am a grown adult and I have no idea what I'm doing in terms of budgeting myself besides general intuition on how much to spend (and not to spend). This is not an effective process for a couple that was forced into debt thanks to a really sticky situation. Something has got to change, it has to give. I really find discussing my financial situation pretty uncomfortable, simply because society tells you it's something you're really not supposed to talk about -- You're not supposed to let people know you're sad or struggling or in need of some kind of guidance. However, I think it's necessary to discuss my confusion and fears and how I plan on going about the things I have to take care of to make myself better in the head, in the pocket, and all around. So, be prepared for me to lay it all out on the line.

We're living with my IL's right now, and even though I like them, it totally sucks. They think it sucks too. It causes unnecessary stress because I feel grateful and simultaneously strangled by their constant presence, and this cacophony of emotions makes me one moody-ass beeotch. It makes DH stressed which makes HIM a moody-ass beeotch. That makes IL's upset, and so ensues a massive whirlwind of upset. This causes emotional strain between us, and we all know that is not a good thing for a recently married couple, or for any couple for that matter. Sometimes we can get away to my BIL's house and that somewhat recharges our batteries, but for the most part I'm living in super stressed conditions thinking about all this stuff. Moral of this long nonsense? We need to move out. Moving out costs money, and quite a bit of it.

DH is working with SIL's fiancee but has had this vertigo thingie that is making it hard for him to work. Without his income, we go nowhere because I am making like, $17/hr during a regular 40 hour work week and that just isn't enough to get us out in time. I just started working like, three weeks ago so that SURELY isn't enough to get us out in time. However, I need to get health insurance ASAP so he can go to the doctor and get to working again. Bye bye, more money!

This then leads me to being reminded of the cat I have that I REFUSE to get rid of (she was my first baby and will be with me until she dies! No shelters allowed!). I was FORCED to get rid of the dog due to the stressful conditions (given to a family friend, so I'm not really concerned with where he ended up, at least). I am also barraged with cell phone bills and credit card debt along with DH's child support debt (8 year old, we'll get to her at another point) and some outstanding hospital bills.

Let's throw in that he didn't file taxes last year by accident.

I am getting knots in my stomach and tight in the chest even writing about this.

I can't take thinking about this all at once, so I'm going to make a spreadsheet tonight and budget us in a proper way so we can figure out more effectively how to tackle this, because I think I may jump off a bridge thinking about it if I don't.

We need to come up with the money to live in a comfortable and stable manner. I don't care if I have to take a job on the weekends for now. What has to be done, has to be done. Fortunately, I don't have kids of my own yet to worry about, and DSD (dear step-daughter) gets help from her mama. I will keep you updated on how I go about this issue; if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I haven't been posting over the past month or so because other things were occupying my mind. I figured that filling my brain with my goals, both short and long term, would help me drown out the constant noise in the back of my head reminding me that I have major mommy issues. I tried to think about making money, learning the roads in the area, and preparing for all sorts of events that DH and I have come up with to fill our time. Although my technique was moderately effective, there are still many moments where my feelings of hurt, guilt, and simple depression left me paralyzed. The worst part is, because I do not understand its origin as I did when my parents were overtly exerting control in my life, I end up trying to decipher the cause and find the hours drifting away as I try to "figure myself out". How can things bother me when they're not even actively there? That seems ridiculous. As the title suggests, I feel like every time I take a step forward, there is something in my way that tries to force me to take two steps back. I've had varying results with allowing it to successfully happen and feel I need to stick to this medium (meaning mindlessly blogging) to allow myself to progress (on many grounds: personal, emotional, financial...but I'll get to that.)

On to the important things:

I have a new co-worker who is a doll. Thankfully, I started working recently and assumed it would help me get my mind off of things. Get to work, spend hours and hours filing things and go home only to discover you've successfully wasted eight hours without blinking. Unfortunately, my co-worker and I are left alone a lot of times without order or direction, so we often find ourselves playing solitaire, listening to music, and, of course, discussing the intricate workings of how we got to where we are now. Of course the mommy issues had to drop in to conversation because my co-worker is too friendly and lets me talk about whatever I want. Somehow, I always end up disclosing it. In defense of the fact that people don't just lay it all out there right away, I've made the situation sound a lot more muted and tame than it has been. HOWEVER, it always sets the gears in my head a' turnin' and I am constantly left losing every game of Spider Solitaire because I can't get off the fact that I feel like an asshole for not knowing what colleges my brother is looking at or how my mom is feeling today, etc. There just isn't another way around it. I'm unhappy when I know, and I'm unhappy when I don't know. Blah. Proceed to waste the whole day staring at the wall and growing tired enough to fall asleep as soon as I get home. DH does not like this cycle.

(I don't know why I'm even upset about my brother, considering he has already called me a traitor plenty of times and is eyeing up my parents' money and is patiently waiting for the inheritance he will surely acquire sooner rather than later. Considering his total academic apathy, he might not even go to college. He'll just take over my parents business and burn the entire place to the ground in a couple of months.) Flip flopping? As per usual, poor child, as usual.

Today the issue has been raised in my mind because my husband called me at work saying he fell off of a ladder because the vertigo he has had for a few weeks got really bad and made him lose his balance. Of course I am now an emotional wreck from the fear that has overtaken me...why the vertigo? Is he injured? Is this an injury we'll hear about tomorrow? I've become a mess trying to think about why the vertigo would ear infection? The beginning stages of MS? This is how my mind works. Anyway, we're in a transition period and have a lot of financial planning to do, and I've been looking into health insurance policies, but of course we don't have one right now. Life has to work like that, doesn't it. I got to thinking about how his parents have given us money to make sure we were stable and productive without really second guessing it. My parents are blessed with being able to afford all of life's luxuries and then some, and I can't call and ask for help for him (really for *us* if you think about it)...their daughter's husband. Someone I truly and openly have admitted love for. In fact, I don't think there is anything I can call about anymore without some sort of miserable barrage of bullshit unless it begins with, "you're right, my husband and I are not together any more, can I move in with you?" Yeah, not going to happen. Thinking about this makes me miserable. Now my hands are shaking and my heart rate feels like I just ran a marathon. This cannot be good for me.

I just feel like my mind is so cluttered from the memories I hold. They prevent my mental clarity and definitely cause a lack of focus. If I think about the carcass of my relationship with my parents, I lose typing speed, I misfile things, and I can't remember where I put things, etc. It's just a shame that they're still fucking with me...what's strange is that they don't even know they're doing it anymore.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Nightmares

As the days accumulate after my victorious escape from the clutches of my parents' narcissism, the nightmares have grown in frequency and have led me to be a generally awful person to be around. I find comfort in virtually nothing except emptying my mind of all thoughts by watching mindless YouTube videos or looking through old friends' 1000-count Facebook album photos. This isn't the life I want to live and I am trying my best to find ways to confront my guilt and fear.

I left the apartment of theirs in a rather chaotic rush, leaving more than half of my belongings behind. Treasured books and curtains I took weeks to select were all parted with in a matter of an hour. Their narcissism had become increasingly threatening, had made my boyfriend lose his job (a more detailed story for later!!), and made me feel generally uncomfortable and unhappy. I had spent my whole life working to be the person that they wanted me to be: I chose the college they wanted me to choose, tried to get into graduate school to make them happy, and always showed them grades that proved I'd excelled. It didn't matter. Their response was always, "okay, keep it up." If anything was out of line in the house like a dish being left out or an argument between my brother and I flared up, the repercussions fell on me because I was always the inevitable target. I finally knew there was only one choice to make: give my things up and fit what I could in the car, or leave everything I'd worked for and fall again into their world of obligation and shame....only this time it would be worse for "putting them through what they had to go through with my latest rebellion." In a movie-like escape, I fled, middle-of-the-night style and moved to a place where I am allowed to be myself. However, any daughter of a narcissist (and anyone that enables them) knows that recovery comes not only with physical distance, and I've been completely unable to distance myself from them.

The nightmares come in many forms. Either I dream they find me here and pull me from the life I've made for the hair...into their car, or it's a dream about how they follow me from place to place and there is always someone watching me making me feel guilty about what I'm doing, like, private investigator style. Sometimes I even dream about one of many moments in my past where I felt such guilt and shame that I wanted to melt into the floor, like the times she embarrassed me in front of people for her humor or when she'd wake me in the middle of the night to yell at me because she knew I'd be too sleepy to respond and she'd finally get her unabashed say in how things should be. This has become and every day affair. I haven't been able to properly deal with how I feel about them as we are already financially pressed and I do not have the time to regularly confront the issue in some sort of guided therapy. Reading self-help books (like "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?" by Dr. Karyl McBride, which I highly suggest and daughters of narcissists read) and YouTube DIY videos are my only comfort, and even that isn't really good enough.

Even without them here, I am unable to feel rested, and I've grown increasingly grouchy over the past few days wondering whether all of the moves I've made are really worth it. Maybe they're right, or I'm wrong, or something. Why did I put all of my loved ones through this? Nobody deserves to be dragged into this mess. And what if I'm really crazy and have just been portraying my side well enough? Then they're efforts are really for naught. And how about all of the people I've been surrounded with who are doing fine? How are they doing it? Doesn't everyone have problems? Why aren't their problems affecting them like mine are? Simply put, excuse my French, I constantly feel like a piece of shit. Any little remark from anyone that has any sort of criticism or negativity mixed in sends me into a whirlwind of shittiness and memories of always not feeling good enough.

What's worse is that the exhaustion doesn't just come in an emotional form. I am physically deteriorating which is ridiculous for a person to be experiencing in her twenties. The stress they perpetually bring, even without their physical presence or close proximity, has taken its toll on my back and neck and have caused me to remain fatigued, even when I've slept for upwards of twelve, thirteen hours. I am in constant pain and have trouble picking things up that I've dropped on the floor because my muscles are so tense.

I need to look into coping mechanisms like writing about it like I'm doing here, but do any daughters of narcissists have any suggestions? I know I've already taken the right steps in distancing myself, and I don't think I'm quite ready to send them a letter acknowledging my hurt as I've already tried that and send myself into a two-day mental breakdown, but is there anything you do to separate yourself from your guilt? Do you have a hobby or is it more than that? I try to find solace in my husband but sometimes I just feel like he's pushing me too quickly, of course unintentionally. I don't blame him, but he just doesn't understand the extent of my weakness.

I'm just so....tired.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Dog

I'm writing this before I go to take my dog King on a long walk; he needs the exercise as he has been cooped up lately due to the rain we've been having. As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I began thinking about how he was the impetus for a lot of the extremely drastic changes I've made recently, and how he helped free me from a lot of the narcissistic control that was going on in my life.

My husband and my second cat did not get along, and so when I gave him up to another family (for both of their sakes), I was pretty devastated. I felt like I had let the cat down; like he was a representative of the vulnerability I had all through childhood, and how me, without child, could exhibit traits of patience and kindness to him. I could be, for this cat, the mother that *I* never had. This is absolutely ridiculous considering he went to an exceptionally good family home with a kind and soft-spoken mother, her patient and loving husband, and their two gentle little boys. They were the perfect recipients of my pseudo-child, and perhaps could be more for this cat that I was being at the time. It is also ridiculous because I cannot live vicariously through a cat and expect to get by on the feelings I am *assuming* he feels. Such is the personality of someone traumatized from a lifetime of dealing with a narcissist. I had become the scapegoat for even the most minute events that happened in our household growing up, and I never came out of an argument the victor. Every conversation I've ever had with my mother has only left me a little more wounded or ashamed. A typical random jab would go as such:

(someone in a wheelchair rolls by, perhaps he or she broke his or her leg)

Mom: (stares condescendingly at the wheelchair person) You are so lucky you're healthy, that's the most important thing -- look at what happened to that poor person. *I* won't be healthy forever, that's why I deserve your attention and respect.

How did we even get to that? And how do you just openly say something like that? My mother is in her mid 60's and she is not going to hit her death bed for another 30 years minimum, I guarantee it. It is in her genes. Her father died at 86 and her mother at 92. She looks like she is MAYBE 50 years old. She is constantly at the gym and worried about her physique (as any wealthy narcissist NEEDS to do), but she is not worried about the simple things that people don't see like mammograms or routine dental checkups. The irony is that she complains about how she is going to die all the time, which is an excuse she got from her brother dying of a mesothelioma-like cancer from being exposed to toxins all the time (constantly going in basements for catch my drift). A simple cough turns into an exaggerated illness of the rarest kind -- she even milks it up to sound worse if you're talking to her. "Maybe I'm going to die," she coughs, "you never know." No, actually, I do know. You don't even have a cold. Something went down your throat the wrong way when you were shoving it down and hiding it from everyone. If she wanted to take care of her health, she'd make an attempt to stop being stressed about every little blip on the radar that comes her way. Yeah, sometimes the house gets a little messy. Sometimes things leak. Sometimes things don't go perfectly at work. She makes these issues life-or-death situations which, inevitably, pile up and cause death. Somehow, she thrives off of these things. And somehow, I feel like I owe her something due to the fact that she said it. Imagine she actually died after making a comment like that? I'd feel guilty forever. So, again, I'd keep getting drawn in.

Anyway, I digress. My (now) husband knew I was devastated over the cat and allowed me time to appropriately heal from the ridiculousness I was feeling. He fully explained to me that a cat cannot be a life I vicariously find happiness through, although I have a right to be sad to let go of a pet. Once I worked on these feelings, he decided he really did want another cat (but not one that did not get along with him), and so we decided to go to the pound to get another one. (I avidly support animal adoption.)

**An important note here is that we were living in a building at the time that is owned by my parents' company. That issue is a long one for another day, but let's just say I'm happy I'm out of there as of now. The fact that we lived there (and were decent, rent-paying tenants), is a major topic of contention for what follows.**

When we get to the pound, instead of being directed straight towards the section with cats and kittens, we pass the section of dogs. Even while I was single and living by myself I had always dreamed of owning a dog. I had one when I was still living in my parents house in high school, and I love animals. However, I couldn't find the time to care for a dog by myself, especially with a cat already in the house. After a little bit of trying to talk myself out of it, I cannot resist going in the dog section and having a look. Almost every dog is yappy and jumpy, two personality traits that would not mesh with an apartment building and the crazy complaining tenants that live there (who would complain to my parents...see the issue?). However, when I get to the end of the row, I see King. He, my husband, and I all clicked. He is composed and quiet, but not fatigued in any way, just sitting properly to see if we would have a look. Instantly, I knew I wanted to take this animal home. I also knew a dog would not be something my parents would be too fond about my having, but I decide to be strong and do what is going to make me happy (and make my husband happy because he wanted one too!). We take him home and I'm finally at peace. He is quiet and behaved and sweet, and just has a little bit of separation anxiety. He cries a little bit when we leave him, but stops and goes to sleep, an issue we can work on and fix in a matter of a couple months.

That peace doesn't last longer than about a week.

I don't get a text message or a phone call from my already-enraged-due-to-losing-control parents asking about why I have a "large dog" in my apartment and what we can do to solve the disagreement about my having it. No, instead I get a 10 Day Notice to Cure or they will commence an eviction which takes about two more legal business days. Basically, their lawyer sent me a notice saying "other tenants have been complaining. You have a little more than a week to get rid of the dog or I'm throwing you out. Sincerely, the lawyer for your parents." Talk about trying to exercise control. I would have been happy to have the discussion and arrange something had they been open with me. They're not just my landlords. They're supposed to be my parents. However, I know that the Notice to Cure is not just about the dog. They're upset that my boyfriend isn't what *they* imagined for me. They're upset that I don't call them every day anymore. That I'm not slaving working for them. You get my point. They're mad that I'm not their robot anymore, and they'll do anything to take me down. The dog is a perfect excuse.

 Well, at that point, I flew into devastation again. We could not afford to live anywhere else as my husband had just started his job, and I was in transition from working for my parents and being deliberately underpaid (aka they knew I didn't have enough to eat after I paid the rent). I was not getting rid of the dog. I couldn't do it. So, we scrambled for every option. I called Pet Hotlines and reached out to everyone we knew for foster care. Fortunately, a family friend took him for a couple of weeks so we could find a little more time to figure out how to get out.

All I get in the meantime is a message from my mother which basically asks what has become of me and why I continue to do such hateful things to MY family. (Hah, MY family) Why, she asks me, would I reject people that have given me everything? That *is* a question she would ask. I choose not to respond as I am not ready to do it in a respectful manner and it would probably only send me backwards at this point. I cannot afford a therapist at the moment. I'm working on all of this myself.

In a story for another time, we are forced to leave the apartment sooner rather than later due to their hand being in our professional lives as well. Hang tight for that one.

Simply put, I would have been caught in their net for so much longer had the dog not caused their lawyer to send Notice to Cure. (By the way: turns out neighbors weren't complaining, it was passed along to us that my parents had hired a private investigator to follow us. Weird.) I finally took the step and was courageous enough to move out of a place they owned, a place that was so familiar to me in a sick obsessive way. It really was an action that was so straightforward instead of the perverse "we love you so we're doing this horrible thing to you". 

I still feel really out of my element; I'm in a totally different place with a different vibe and its unfamiliarity makes me nervous. I was so comfortable being a child due to being treated like a child. I had grown comfortable being told what to do and who to be, even with argument and tantrum. However, I'm ready to learn how to be an act like an adult. I am married and in a totally new place now. It's time to start over and figure out who I want to be.

I'm just glad my dog is a part of it. Time to go walk him!

My best. <3

Monday, April 23, 2012

Introduction, Background, and Intent

I am not a writer. My thoughts are all over the place and nothing ever seems cohesive, but I'm going to give this my best shot.

Throughout my childhood, I was afforded all of the finer things in life: all of the gifts I could have ever dreamed up--from Barbies to books to clothes from boutique stores, the luxury of private school and fancy birthday parties. However, as I transitioned from little girl to moldable teen to developed adult, I managed to realize that things weren't quite the same in my house as they were in others. I may have been wealthy and well-to-do, but I knew somehow underneath it all that I was a victim of something truly subversive. My mother, without question, is a narcissist. She has a full blown disorder.

I could write for years about the stories that come out of my childhood, and even more so my teenage years. About the accumulation of wounds that have turned me, simply put, into a traumatized human being. About how my mother was just about the most narcissistic human being to walk the planet; each conversation was about her and how hard her pampered life had truly been. How she learned it from her mother. About the unnecessary demands and the soap she'd shove into my mouth when I spoke up for what I believed in. About how she'd rile up my father into an angry hulk-like monster who would lose himself and take it out on me. About how I always carried around the guilt and feelings of shame for not being able to make others happy -- and how when I would express even an inkling of independence they'd convince others I was disobedient and mentally unstable. However, I've decided to take a step back from getting it all out at once and write more specifically about how I'm feeling on my path to recovery, and which of those stories are relevant to the roadblock I'm facing.

To give you JUST a little bit of background, I was, as I've mentioned, a wealthy girl from a wealthy city surrounded by luxury in a home I was not allowed to touch (apparently the oils in our hands will disintegrate the whole house). I was raised by an au pair (who I thank to this day for making me normal). I was taught to love things and people *with* things. I was taught that I was to marry someone in the same religious, financial, racial, and political background as I (aka them). I wore what they wanted me to wear. I cut my hair how she wanted it cut. I studied what she wanted me to study. I went to University close to our home because I knew it was what she wanted. Finally, however, I decided to make a change, simply because deep down I am not that person. I tried to be an asshole, I really did. I wore Lacoste and tried to like the boys I was supposed to like. It really didn't work at all. I want to learn the things I want to learn, love who I want to love and speak how I want to speak. Narcissists do not like these things, and have caused the inevitable crumbling that has taken place.

Fast forward through all of the drama I will take time to disclose as I am reminded of it through the upcoming months, I am now NOT in that wealthy city, not provided with a single dime from their estate, in a home filled with loving people who are helping me transition from traumatized to empowered. I am surrounded now (finally) by people I can hug and love and sometimes even curse in front of without threat of reprimand. If they have two, they find a way to give me three. I am now married to one of these people. I am meeting and choosing to reach out to those I felt are/were genuine in my life, which sadly is not many -- I suppose this is primarily because I was surrounded my whole life by people who were also driven by the love of money and their grandiose selves.

I am no longer on the short leash with the choke collar I've been on my whole life. I am finally emerging from the cloud of confusion and feelings of self deprecation and shame. However, I am in the period where I accidentally reflect on a memory and fall into the same feelings of shame all over again. I still feel like a hurt puppy with no say in my life's pathway.

That's all going to change, and I hope you take the time to continue your recovery with me. I want to hear your stories. I hope we can find a way to acknowledge and confront that we truly were victims. For too long I've been carrying the guilt of not having the family I wanted. It is my turn to live a happy life.