One of the most important things which you can do for yourself is to – Know Yourself.
Self-knowledge is personal power.
Getting to know yourself is a process which continuously happens over your entire lifetime.
It starts off when you are born, simply, as you discover your own body, as you experience sensations, as you notice how others respond to you or don’t respond to you, as you absorb the world around you.
As you get a little older you begin to emerge from being merged with the world and people around you. You become more aware of a separate self, a self which belongs to you. Boundaries begin to form between you and the world and other people.
The you who you originally were on day one of your existence stays with you, but more layers of you are laid over it, with your focus on the present self which you are experiencing. Who you once were is of less interest than who you are now. You become more aware of a changing, growth, shifts in perception.
As you progress from baby to toddler to child to pre-teen to teen to pre-adult to adult your focus moves with you. Different aspects of yourself, of your life, of the world in which you live, draw your attention away from other aspects.
Who you once were is of less interest than who you are now, who you are now is of less interest than who you will become.
At some point in your progression forwards, you may stop to review who you have become.
How did you become who you are now?
You may be inspired to look back, at who you once were, at all the yous who you have been over the years, sifting through all the layers of self upon self, reviewing the changes, growth, shifts inside and outside, trying to get some perspective on all the perspectives you’ve had, and how they influenced the one you have now.
What made you stop to look back?
Sometimes it’s a life crisis which stops us in our tracks.
Maybe we feel that we can’t go on, can’t move forwards… at least not until we’ve let go of something, something which we may feel is holding us back, a burden which is too heavy to carry, a chain tied around us which yanks at us and its links lead back into our past. Or perhaps something is blocking us, a fear, an invisible wall, a steep mountain to climb, a raging storm, a vast ocean between us here and somewhere, someone, better over there.
It could be both – Something in our present is blocking us while something in our past is holding us back. And those two something are connected by us – the only way to unblock and release ourselves is to look within, for what is outside of us is connected to what is inside of us.
Perhaps the life crisis which triggers our urge to get to know ourselves, all of our selves (or as many as we can remember, the ones which are pertinent to the crisis situation), is a relationship with a Narcissist.
(Ah, finally she gets to the point, and hopefully gets on with sharing her red flags for identifying a Narcissist!)
Before I list the red flags which I use to recognise a Narcissist…
(OMG! HEAVY SIGH! I knew it was too good to be true! She’s going to babble some more and probably won’t ever list the red flags – but that’s the only reason I’m reading this shit!)
I need to say three things:
1- If you recognise yourself or someone you know in my descriptions of Narcissists and Narcissistic behaviour, this does not = you or someone else is a Narcissist or Narcissistic in a negative way. All humans are Narcissistic, we all go through the Narcissistic phase of human development, and Narcissism can be and is healthy for us.
Please read this article for more information and clarification – What is Healthy Narcissism?
I use my own Narcissism to blog. I use my own narcissistic tendencies, both healthy and unhealthy, to understand the Narcissists in my life, to write about Narcissists, and to deal with Narcissists, Narcissistic people, and all the negative Narcissism in the media, society, and in general.
2 – Narcissist in the context of this post could also mean a very Narcissistic person who may or may not actually be a Narcissist (have Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
It can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who is a Narcissist, has NPD, and someone who is being very Narcissistic.
It can also be hard to perceive when the Narcissistic person is us and not the other person – how we perceive others and ourselves tends to be subjective (based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.), and we may decide that someone is a Narcissist because they didn’t give us what we wanted, didn’t live up to our expectations and disappointed us, didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, didn’t do what we wanted them to do, didn’t like us when we wanted them to like us, ignored us when we wanted their attention, refused to be who we wanted them to be for us, did not go along with the script we’d given them for the role we wanted them to play in our life story. Argued with us, disagreed with us, criticised us, didn’t love us back, made us feel bad about ourselves in some way.
To come to the conclusion that someone in your life is a Narcissist = the villain, the most heinous person you know whom you can now hate without doubt or guilt, and can now go around telling everyone what a terribly evil character they are (which is not dissimilar to a smear campaign) and how everything that is wrong with you is all their fault, they damaged you, caused and inflicted all this pain and suffering on you
– you need to get yourself out of the way for a while so that you can assess them more objectively ((of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.).
– you need to use deductive reasoning.
One incident, even two or three incidents does not necessarily = that someone is a Narcissist. You need to take into account whether they are always like this, whether their behaviour is a constant, is normal for them, is in character, or if it is abnormal, not how they usually are but they’re going through something which has affected them, making them behave this way, acting out of character.
You need to check out more than just them in the moment, you need to look at what is around them in the moment, what is affecting them and causing this effect on their behaviour, other factors.
For instance – Are they physically ill, suffering from physical pain. Do they have a condition which they keep under wraps, controlled, but which occasionally flares up. Do they suffer from depression, an anxiety disorder. Have they recently changed their regular medication. Have they given up an addiction.
Are they in therapy and did something come up in their latest session which rattled their cage.
This is an interesting perspective on that – Therapists need to own their stuff (for healing’s sake)
Are they going through a life crisis. Did they get some bad news and haven’t yet processed it. Did someone close to them recently die. Did they break up with someone. Did they lose a promotion they worked hard to get. Is there a stressor in their place of work. Is there a problem at home.
You also need to take into account if they’re like this with everyone or if they’re only like this when they are with you. Sometimes we’re someone’s dis-ease.
If every time you are with them all you do is tell them what their problem is, what’s wrong with them, nag, criticise, then they may get stressed out when they’re with you and snap at you, be difficult, defensive. It’s easy to get caught in a relationship pattern like that, and hard to snap out of it once it sets in.
If every time you’re with them all you do is tell them all about your problems, what’s wrong with you, you put yourself down or put others down blaming them for what’s wrong with you, and nothing the other person says fixes your problems, is helpful, heals the pain you’re in, then they may feel tense, depressed, irritable and uncomfortable around you. It’s not your fault that you’re going through what you’re going through, but it’s not their fault either and it’s not their responsibility, obligation or duty to take care of you when you’re like that.
We all have our ups and downs, and the downs sometimes last longer than the ups, dragging us further down and sucking those around us down with us. Sometimes we pull ourselves out because we see what our down is doing to others, to those around us, to those we care about. They inspire to save ourselves… before they decide to save themselves by getting as far away from us as possible.
When trying to decide if someone is a Narcissist, remember what it’s like to be human living a human life in a human world. We can all be negatively Narcissistic when we’re suffering, in pain, when we’re caught up in ourselves and are in a very dark place.
While assessing the scenario, situation and dynamic around the person, and the person, it is wise to use Cognitive Empathy…
excerpt from Types of Empathy | Skills You Need
however be careful of the other kinds of empathy – emotional empathy and compassionate empathy, these are wonderful skills to have, but they often lead to sympathy, pity, and pulled heartstrings played like moaning violins. Which is fine when experienced in the right context, but they are not useful when you’re trying to assess if someone is a Narcissist or not.
You need to think and feel clearly.
As if they are a Narcissist, feeling for them will get you sucked into their drama, suckered by it, and stuck there.
For more about that please visit – Knowing the Narcissist – it is the blog of HG Tudor, who is a Greater Elite Narcissist. He patiently and painstakingly explains the different types of Narcissist, and how they each use and view Empathy.
3 – I tend to only attract and be attracted to female Covert Narcissists.
Covert Narcissists tend to be harder to spot than Overt Narcissists.
Overt Narcissists tend to be aware that they’re narcissistic, to them this is the only way to be to succeed in life, to become powerful, important, masters of the universe. Strut your stuff is their motto. They love being narcissistic, and their love for it can be contagious – those around them may become like them, may act out of character, may even aspire to be like them, and they often get elected, promoted into positions of authority because of it.
This article explains some of that – Can evolutionary psychology and personality theory explain Trump’s popular appeal?
The Overtly Narcissistic are the Donald Trumps, the Harvey Weinsteins, the Rupert Murdochs, the stereotypical capitalist corporate CEOs, the Zeus’, the Godfathers, the Harvey Specter from Suits, the Robert “Bobby” Axelrod and Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr from Billions, the superheroes and super villains, the Reality TV celebrities, the Gurus, the Magicians, the OMG How Did They Get Away With That, the WOW How Did They Do That, the Go-Getters, the I AM types.
You can usually recognise an Overt Narcissist from the expression on their face, from the way they look at you and the world around them, and from everything which comes out of their mouth.
The Overtly Narcissistic love mirrors…
the Covertly Narcissistic hate mirrors.
The Covertly Narcissistic don’t tend to look like Narcissists, in fact they often look like the opposite of a Narcissist. They may appear to be the Mary Poppins, the Mother Theresas, the Princess Dianas,
Please note: I am not saying the people I’ve named are Covert Narcissists, but they may be people whom a Covert Narcissist admires, loves, worships, idolises, idealises, envies, would like to be. They’re the ideal perfect person whom a Covert Narcissist may aspire to become, they may even want to ‘replace’ them, be better than them (most Narcissists think they can be you better than you are you), they want the hearts of others the way those people have won them.
a Saint, a Saviour, a Do-Gooder, a Martyr to the Cause, the Belle from Once Upon a Time, the Damsel in Distress, the super Empath, the Indigo Child, the all seeing Psychic, the Cassandra, the Oracle of Delphi, the Goddess, the Demeter/Ceres, the Mother Earth types.
Covert Narcissists usually don’t know they’re Narcissists, and would be mortified to find out that you think they’re a Narcissist and would most likely have a meltdown of Titanic proportions about it ending with them probably accusing you of being a Narcissist, and discarding you because you’re Toxic for them.
They tend to believe their own persona, their narrative about themselves, their stories…
of being Highly Sensitive People (which they are only not in the way the term HSP means it),
of being the greatest Empaths in the universe (just like real Empaths they can’t tell the difference between what they’re feeling and what others are feeling, except unlike real Empaths they never bother to put a boundary system in place although they do talk about it all the time, research it at length to get more information to use when they talk endlessly about being Empaths, but oh woe is them they’re more special than regular Empaths, and couldn’t possibly do what the ordinary ones do),
of being the most wonderful mother in the world (who mothers better than all other mothers, there is no other mother as mothering as they are, other mothers are doing it all wrong, aren’t as perfect as they are),
of being the one who feels all the pain in the world and could heal it all if only they could just heal themselves first… (and if only everyone else would stop being so selfish, in pain because the pain of others is such a pain to the greatest healer in the galaxy).
For more on this – Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can
In no particular order, here are the red flags I use to recognise a Narcissist (focusing mainly on Covert Narcissists because they’re the ones I tend to go for, and who go for me):
1 – When someone says: I am an Empath
Please note: this can be applied to other I AM statements. Covert Narcissists tend to introduce their persona with an I AM statement, it sets the scene of the ensuing drama, it tells you clearly what their starring role is in their epic film/novel, it also will be informing you of your supporting role, and they will repeat it to brainwash you into believing that is who they are as you have to believe it so they can believe it (they also need to keep repeating the affirmation to brainwash themselves to believe it). Other options include – I am a highly sensitive person, I am compassionate, I am caring to a fault, I am the sort of person who puts everyone else’s need before mine and no one is grateful, I am spiritual, I am a good mother of course I have my faults but…
Pay attention to the I AM statements which people make about themselves, then confirm them by observing their behaviour, what they do – Do they walk the walk of the talk they talk?
Narcissists tend to talk the talk, and do the talk very well, but don’t usually walk the walk of their talk, as they seem to be under the impression that the talk is the walk. If they say they’re superman, then they are superman and they don’t have to do what superman does, they can just say that they’re doing it and it is done.
Non-Narcissists sometimes don’t live up to their own hype, all humans tend to want to be more than we are sometimes and with so much Narcissistic advice out there… all of us can make I AM statements which we don’t live up to no matter how much we want to. However for the most part we walk our talk, usually because who we are is who we are and what we do is be who we are.
As you can probably tell the statement – I am an Empath – is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to Narcissists. I could rant for thousands of years of words about it. It’s because I’ve fallen for this more than one time too many and I’m really pissed at myself. If you pick up on my anger – it’s not directed at at you, Empaths, some of it is directed at the Narcissist Empaths I’ve known, but most of it is from me to me.
Please note – this is not about real Empaths, this is about Narcissist Empaths. There is a world of difference between the two.
A real Empath will most likely not need to tell you that they’re an Empath. They don’t tend to make I AM statements, they will use I am in a sentence, but they’re using it logically where it applies.
They’re more likely to You Are statements but not like a Narcissist makes YOU ARE statements. A real Empath’s You Are statements tends to be along the lines of – You are looking good, you are beautiful, you are lovely, you are so talented, you are amazing how did you do that, you are crazy brave I would not be able to do that, you are going to get into trouble one of these days for being such a generous friend as I may take advantage of you haha no I won’t you and I know that I never ask for anything, you are such an asshole for buying me that wonderful gift haha thank you so much you know me so well and knew that I wanted it but would never buy it for myself I love you.
They’re more likely to discuss you – how are you, what about you, what would you like, what do you want, what do you need, what’s going on with you, you look like you could use a drink (and they’ll know instinctively which kind of drink you need based on what they’ve picked up from you), than they are to discuss themselves – I am fine how are you, I am feeling better thank you for asking what about you, I’m easy I like lots of things what would you like, Oh no I don’t want anything this is fine what do you want, I have everything I need what do you need, oh you know the usual it’s not as interesting as what’s going on with you.
After an interaction with a real Empath, you will come away from being in their company walking on air, feeling good about yourself, wanting more of them, and perhaps feeling a little guilty pleasure that it was all about you. They’re life’s muses who ask for nothing in return.
A real Empath is the living and breathing embodiment of that quote – Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.
Treat a real Empath well and you’ll have a loyal and supportive ally for life, treat them badly and…
you’ll regret it, but they won’t because you showed them your true colours and they are not afraid of the truth.
Unlike Narcissist Empaths who are screamingly afraid of the truth, and never shut up about how they’d rather you told them the painful truth than lie to them. But don’t take them up on that offer because the clue is in the fact that they think truth is painful.
Sure, sometimes the truth is painful, but it also brings a lot of healing, can be calming, soothing, relieving, releasing. liberating. Not to a Narcissist, and definitely not to a Narcissist Empath.
When someone says to me – I’m an Empath – I wait and see how they make me feel. How I end up feeling when I interact with them.
Being in the company of a Narcissist Empath = walking on eggshells, holding your breath, feeling tense all the time, bugs crawling on your skin, something is in your eye but you can’t move even blink or they’ll read something awful into it, denying yourself, censoring not only what you say and do but what you’re feeling too – the worst emotion you can have around a Narcissist Empath is happiness, joy, feeling good about yourself, they will rip it out of you, stamp on it, twist it and turn it into something dark, dubious, terrible and toxic. You will end up fearing yourself when you are around them. Even when you empty yourself of everything, of yourself, they’ll pick things up from you – because basically they’re pouring all their unwanted shit into you and that’s what they’re picking up from you. They are not Empaths, they’re Dumpaths – you’re their dumping ground, their burial ground, their sin-eater.
After being with them, they go away feeling great, like a load has been lifted, but you feel as though a world of pain was dropped onto you.
Pay attention to how you feel after you’ve been with someone, interacted with them in real life, on the phone, through a text, online – but you do have to know yourself to understand what you are feeling and what it means. It could be you, but it could also be them.
2 – The cry for help
This is especially relevant when online, because a lot of people use social media to express their helplessness. Sometimes expressing our helplessness helps us to get the helplessness out of our system so that we can then find the space inside to help ourselves.
People sometimes share online their problems, the ones which are doing their head in, battering their heart, gnawing at their guts, or sucking at their soul. Sometimes all they need is a ‘safe’ and ‘sacred’ space to shout, shout, get it all out, and maybe in getting it out they figure it out because to write it down they have to go through it and BANG! AHA! They’ve understood something… false alarm, or true alarm but they’ve answered it, and can turn it off now.
There are many variations, which include the one where someone shares their pain and others share their pain with them, and somewhere in all of that shared pain people find solace – maybe just in knowing that you’re not alone, that others suffer as you are suffering, that it’s normal, that you’re normal, while not ideal because no one wants others to suffer…
(yes, I hear you, you want your narcissist to suffer because your narcissist wanted you to suffer, made you suffer – your narcissist is suffering that’s why they’re a narcissist and make others suffer – they are replaying their wounding scenario over and over and over again, passing on their wound, maybe hoping that if others have the same wound maybe someone will find a miracle magical cure which does not involve work but can be taken in pill or spell form and POOF all the pain is gone, the suffering is gone, the wound is gone! Happily ever after!)
we take the balm that we can get.
Occasionally someone is looking for a direct answer to a direct question. How do I unblock my toilet? Use a plunger. Thank you, tried it, fixed it!
But if it’s a Covert Narcissist crying out for help, this is their Siren’s call to all brave heroes, fixers, savers, saviours out there to come to the rocks and smash yourselves upon them.
You will be allowed to live a little longer if you say the right thing, which allows them to be the persona they believe that they are and/or are playing. The right thing is to give them sympathy, emotional empathy, compassionate empathy, pity them but not condescendingly, feel sorry for them but do so from a place of agreeing with them that they’ve been hard done by, that they are the victim of an awful villain, haylp haylp… feed them with lots of suggestions, options, cures, ways to get better, but… they will Yes, But them all… they’re smarter than you, they’ve thought of it all, they’ve felt it all, they’ve suffered through it all… your paltry and pathetic suggestions can’t cure what you can’t possibly understand because you have never lived through what they are living through.
You will be killed swiftly if you don’t say the right thing. They don’t need or want people like you in their entourage – you, sir or madam, do not understand, begone with you!
If you get caught up in someone’s drama online or offline, and you’re caught up in it long enough to see that they’re going around in a circle again… get off the ride unless you enjoy it. And don’t try and take them with you when you get off – This is their ride! This is their circus and those are their monkeys.
3 – The Comments
We’re all a bit lax when it comes to listening to others, we’re a bit lax when it comes to listening to ourselves when we talk to others, and when we talk to ourselves.
So, we may miss the meaning in a throwaway comment someone makes.
Even if we hear it, were listening, the spoken word is shifty… and has alternative definitions. Maybe they didn’t mean what you heard, maybe they use that word differently from the way you use it, maybe you misheard them, maybe you were being overly sensitive, maybe you, maybe…
if you have dyslexia as I do, which includes misunderstanding what people have said (and sometimes it’s so way off it can be hilarious, to me anyway), muddling their words in a similar manner to the way words muddle themselves when you read, you’ll end up maybe-ing yourself out of hearing what you heard, and you may have to hear it several times before its message sinks in.
Narcissists are known for their comments – snide little things, poison-tipped darts which you barely feel, and if you do feel it and question the Narcissist who threw it… gaslighting makes dinner for two so much more romantic, the darker it is the less you’ll see, the more the light flickers, the more you’ll doubt yourself.
Covert Narcissists tend to throw many passive-aggressive darts at people. But if you look at them, confront them, point the dart you just pulled out of your back at them – They’ll be indignant, horrified, upset, innocent, and a bunch of other things which will distract you and make you regret noticing they stabbed you. You may even apologise to them for what they did to you, and they may not never ever accept the apology but instead will hold it over you until you stop feeling all the pins, pricks, darts, knives they keep jabbing into you like you’re a voodoo doll.
Then there’s the barbed lure – a comment thrown out there to see which little fish nibbles on it, and then YANK! You’re hooked. You’ll try to wrestle free, but that makes it sink deeper into you, under your skin. Sometimes they’ll take it out after it’s ripped through your flesh, and throw you away, discarding you back into the water because they’re an ecologically friendly fisherman. They do no harm, they tell themselves as they load up another barbed lure and toss it out there.
One of the things I love about the online world is – people’s comments are there in writing for you to see and re-read when it suddenly dawns on you that maybe they meant something else from what you thought they meant.
Be careful when commenting, your self is showing no matter how careful you are. Which is sometimes a very good thing! Unless you’re a Covert Narcissist, playing the victim of a Narcissist and you say something like – All Narcissists should be rounded up and killed and that would make the world a better place for all of us *smiley face with rosy cheeks – that’s genocide not a recipe for world peace and goodwill to all men. While I can understand the feeling… it’s still genocide.
And that’s kind of a red flag for me. It’s the rhetoric of a Narcissist – kill everyone else and then all my problems will be gone with them, and my wound will be magically and miraculously cured, the inner volcano will be appeased through ritual sacrifice!
I won’t immediately brand a person as a Narcissist for saying that, it’ll depend on what they say afterwards, because they could have just been ranting, venting the pressurised pain of years of Narcissistic Abuse. If they keep saying it, and their attitude becomes righteous about genocide… and if it then leads them to create a healing system for victims of Narcissists whereby everyone picks up pitchforks and torches to hunt down Narcissists, shouting and singing Down With All Narcissists… and when they run out of Narcissists they start calling anyone they don’t like a Narcissist which may include their former allies who aren’t as dedicated to the cause, who may be questioning whether burning bloodshed is the solution…
Then I’m probably being a bit slow in my labeling of them.
Reading the comments on blog posts can be very eye-opening, and can help puzzle pieces fall into place. In so many ways – sometimes because of observing my reaction to a comment, to something pointed out, especially when it is helpful, insightful – Why did I react that way? What has this made me notice? How did I not see that before!
You can spot patterns of behaviour in yourself and others. Sometimes these can be very useful if you’re trying to confirm a feeling you have about someone. Of course you could still be reading things into it which aren’t there… which is also useful to notice and know.
How bloggers respond to comments can be interesting. Some bloggers never respond or reply. It often doesn’t mean anything other than they’ve decided not to do that. It can be time consuming to reply to comments and most bloggers aren’t blogging professionally, so they may only have so much time to blog and they use it up writing posts.
Some bloggers will reply to some comments and not to others. This always piques my interest. Why did they reply to the ones they replied to? Why did they not reply to the ones they didn’t reply to? Sometimes it’s obvious because the comment they ignored is a troll, and the blogger has their blog set to approve all comments by default. Sometimes it’s obvious in other ways – they only reply to those who praise them, any comment which isn’t telling them how wonderful they are is ignored. Sometimes they only reply to comments which annoy them and they feel the need to put that person in their place – beneath them, under the sole of their big boot. THWACK! If that commentor fights back and refuses to be stomped out… it can get very interesting to see how each side handles themselves.
I’ve been put off a few bloggers whose posts I liked because of how they handled themselves in the comments. I can be rather shallow.
As for me, I try to always reply to comments. I do it because I do it – and get a lot out of doing it. So thank you for sharing! And letting me share back (sometimes we wish you wouldn’t reply to our comments because you’re batshit and it’s scary confusmacating. I know, I’m sorry but I’m also not sorry, so sorry about that too).
You do have to tap into your inner Narcissist to blog – but it could be your healthy inner Narcissistic tendencies which you’re tapping into.
Blogging is a great way to get to know yourself, and others too!
If you have issues, they’ll all come out to play, to be seen, to drive you up the walls and onto the ceiling. Sometimes it’s the only way to spot them.
Narcissists who blog are fascinating to study.
There are a few Narcissists who blog about Narcissists.
The ones who are Narcissists aren’t necessarily the ones who say they are Narcissists and blog as Narcissists.
Sometimes they’re the ones selling you a miracle magical cure for healing from Narcissistic Abuse (I had one of these order me in a comment on my blog to shill their snake oil, when I asked them a few questions because I didn’t know them or their product and didn’t like being ordered out of the blue by someone I didn’t know to tell people to buy their product, they ignored me. I was supposed to do as I was told!).
Sometimes they’re the ones who are permanent victims of Narcissists who never heal even a little bit because they get more from not healing.
One of my favourite posts about this, by one of the first bloggers to blog about Narcissists – Part Two Online Narcissists: A case study called PuppyGate
I’m not going to point fingers at any one specifically, but I have pointed a finger in general… and the Narcissists who may read this will think I’m pointing at them because it’s always about them and point at me because it’s never them. Fair enough! Bang bang, you got me!
Time to wrap things up,
with mistakes and messy all,
and hand it over to you…
What are the red flags which you use to recognise a Narcissist?
Where did your red flags come from – experience or reading someone else’s red flags which clicked for you?
Are there any sites you’d recommend to those who are looking for help with their healing and recovery from Narcissistic Abuse?
I’m not feeling very well today and finding it difficult to read and comprehend, which is all part of my neurological disease. But I came across your post amongst my emails and despite struggling at times to get through it due to my cognitive issues being rather bad today, I was still determined to read it through to the last word. It felt like we were sitting down having a really good honest chat; the kind I used to have with my cousin and best friend when I was a teenager. I miss those days. As we get older, we became less transparent sometimes; and less curious.
But I was curious about you and the way you think and the way you’ve expressed yourself, and of course, about your topic. You seem to have covered every contingency, not leaving a stone unturned with regard to possible misunderstandings of what you were saying. You hold us accountable and I really like that. Few people do. We either let others (and ourselves) off the hook or point the finger of blame too rapidly and walk away.
So…although I’m rambling because that’s what I do on ‘bad’ days…it’s been enlightening to read your thoughts. Plus…I just thoroughly enjoyed it.
I follow a fair number of bloggers on this topic of narcissism and abuse, and have found the blog community to be such a healing one. I don’t get near enough time to read through and keep up with everyone, but I’m glad I found you today. 🙂 Thank you.
Thank you very much for sharing 🙂
One of the things I’ve learned from my dyslexia is to make friends with it. People treating dyslexia like some sort of aberration to get rid of has helped me make friends with it because it always annoys me when people have that attitude, and when I get annoyed my mind tends to work rather well.
When I’m tired the dyslexia tends to go into overdrive, and everything I read and hear is gibberish, that’s usually when I realise how tired I am. I tend to get very spaced, and I used to try and hide it, which made things worse, stressful. The other day I had the same conversation with my partner about five times, I kept asking him the same question at intervals, then having a conversation about it, then I’d forget it happened and ask the question again, have a conversation about it, etc, and he got a bit freaked out, concerned. For me what was happening was normal, but since I used to hide it, now that I’m letting it show those who know me are the ones feeling confused. The conversation we had was about what we were going to eat for dinner, so it wasn’t necessary to remember it like it was the code to stop a device about to denote.
I ramble all the time, it is incredibly useful for figuring things and ourselves out.
Anyway, because of my dyslexia and the confusion it causes for me, I tend to check things over and over again until I’m fairly sure I understood them, then I’ll check again, and I’ll keep going back to it at intervals over time, and that can lead to becoming aware of how many alternatives, options, variations, etc, there are. Also misunderstandings can be gold mines.
My hyper vigilance does something similar, and has taught me that it is nigh on impossible to cover every possible outcome, scenario, consequence, contingency, but it’s interesting to try as it can open up the world and the mind as much as it can close and narrow it.
I think I’ve gotten more curious as I get older, or at least I allow myself to be curious and don’t care so much if it annoys people that I like to ask questions 🙂
Take good care of yourself!
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Phew!! what a read a great read too. I have to print this one up cos there are so many gems of wisdom? that I need to absorb and think on gonna be two cups of coffee down at my local can,t believe that your blogs are all free ( they are are,nt they? or will I be getting a bill sometime soon? Whatever, I have a question for you….in a conversational setting would you be able to speak in such great detail as you do in writing? or are you better at writing than speaking…bon journee
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Thank you very much 🙂
I love that question!!! Ha, and you know what – I asked myself an almost identical question yesterday while I was chopping wood (I probably should have been paying attention to what I was doing, but sometimes it’s better if I don’t), and when I read your comment and looked at the time it was posted, it was approx the same time. What about that for synchronicity!
The answer to – “in a conversational setting would you be able to speak in such great detail as you do in writing?” – is no.
Writing things down brings things together, it’s like thinking only you can see it in writing and feel it flowing through you. I think in shorthand, and writing makes me transcribe it, translate it, make it more cohesive. The abstract takes on a less abstract shape.
Also writing a post is a monologue, a conversation I am having with myself, with all the different parts of me. It may sound like I’m talking to people out there in the big wide world, but I’m talking with the people inside of me. Chatting with the voices inside my head, not all of which are mine. Sometimes it’s the only way to talk with people 😉 Whereas a conversational setting is a dialogue, and monologuing during a dialogue is intensely boorish. If I talked with others like I talk in my posts (and like I’m talking in this comment) I wouldn’t be offended if they got up and walked out, in fact I’d join them and leave monologuing me behind.
In a conversational setting I tend to listen more than talk. I do ask questions similar to the ones I ask in my posts. But I’m more interested in the answers which the person/people I’m asking give, in their reactions, their thoughts and opinions, in hearing their wisdoms, experiences, stories, knowledge, etc, than I am in my own – I don’t tend to think about myself when I’m with people. I sometimes don’t think at all, I just absorb. If someone asks me to share my own views, it usually throws me because I don’t expect people to do that and I have to upload myself from where I store myself when I’m with others – that can take awhile and the conversation may have moved on by then. When I do talk about myself, I try to keep it brief. When I share my views, thoughts, I’ll try to keep things tame, not go off on tangents, or inundate people with information.
My ideal conversational setting is a brainstorming session. Where everyone involved is an active part of the flow of what is being discussed. Where you can explore a subject, introduce an idea, and see what happens, what comes up, where we go, where we end up. Where we colour outside of the conventional conversational lines.
If I had a cup of coffee at your local with you, we’d either sit there in comfortable silence, perhaps as you read a blog post you’d printed out 😉 and my eyes wandered all over the place taking in the structure of the local, the colours, the culture, the rituals, the beings coming and going, how the person making the coffee did it, how the person in the corner sipped and stared, how the person at the counter waiting flicked through their phone, how the sounds from outside rushed in when the door opened and how people reacted to it, how the sounds within were like music, lyrics from the lives and minds of others…
If we were chatting, you’d be doing most of the talking and I’d be leaning forward listening to more than just what you’re saying with your mouth, which might at some point make you slightly uncomfortable as my eyes may have moved from your eyes onto the fingers of your left hand and what they’re doing while you talk and stayed there a bit too long making you think I’m not listening to your words. But then again since I get the impression that you’re a listener too, you probably would be trying to get me to talk while you listened, and I would be doing the same, and we’d end up talking about nothing in particular and everything in general.
I would either share some seemingly random piece of information, like what I read online this morning, or I’d say something weird, and those overhearing might wonder if I have any grey cells at all, and then they’d look at you and ask what an intelligent man like you is doing trying to talk with a ditz like me. Then out of the blue I might say something perceptive and those who thought I was stupid would get a nervous tingling which might make them mind their own business before I decided to mind it for them 😉
Ultimately though each conversational setting is an adventure to be discovered as it happens, while it can be predicted, there is always room for the unpredictable 🙂
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Mmmm so I got a clear answer and explanation but then you added some unexpected insights that I don,t normally come across when speaking with women. Yes your right I would be trying to deflect the conversation toward you speaking, listening is to me by far more interesting especially if there is something mysterious about the person. When I have my coffee sessions I always have a book or something new to read and like you I scan around the place taking everything in who,s with who looking at the reflections in the glass who looks happy who looks sad so my conscious attention system is on full alert but my focus is on what I am reading. Now back to the chat and I remember the stuck jar lid scenario your not going to be a push over and you reckon silence is golden but not to me its not. Your mysterious, the wandering eyes and the imbalance of what anyone may perceive is all put to one side-you have something maybe a secret that perhaps you,d like to share I would be honoured that you could entrust me to know. I wonder though did it ever cross your mind that you would have some interesting views and answers maybe to you it might not seem so but I think differently hence the correlation that I was seeking between the written word and the spoken word.
Ah chopping and gathering wood strangely though it may seem some Norwegian fella recently wrote a book about that detailing all the ins and outs I used to think whats there to know wood,axe get on with it …now if you were to have a conversation about wood chopping it would probably send you to sleep but when you read the book its quite captivating…just like your blogs. as usual big thanks
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I do sometimes share my views and answers in conversations – it’s a great way to clear a room and get some alone time 😉 On a serious note, I do share my opinion with others but only if it seems relevant otherwise it can confuse people – and it does because they’ve told me it does and the expression on their faces backs up what they told me.
It’s the tangential thinking which causes most of the kerfuffle. The best way to explain it is when you’re watching TV with someone and they have the remote, they know when they’re going to flick, why they’re flicking, what they’re looking for, etc, but to you they’re just randomly flicking and might do it just as you’re warming up to something on TV, and it’s confusing, difficult to follow, and may make your eyes hurt and your head feel dizzy. But when you have the remote, you might not even notice your own flicking through channels because you know what you’re doing.
I probably do have secrets but I’m keeping them a secret from myself too, otherwise I’d blurt them out and then they would not be secrets anymore. Although my partner recently read my last few posts and remarked that I was quite reserved in them, not my full on self which I am with him, so someone who is observant may pick up on that and think I’m keeping secrets when actually I’m just being reserved. Which is funny because I think I’m full on on my blog and keep trying to rein myself in which usually makes me break free from the reins. I am a very silly person in person, but can switch to serious in the blink of an eye if required, if not required then I prefer to clown around.
Wood/axe/wood splitter/chainsaw/smaller axe/hand saw/axe sharpener/chainsaw cleaner/chainsaw fuel/GLOVES/boots/protective gear (goggles for when the splinters fly)/tough clothing plus knowing your wood. Is it seasoned or freshly felled. How long has it been seasoning. Is it moldy, does it have fungus, is it riddled with wood eating insects. Seasoned wood is the best for chopping and burning, and doesn’t create excess moisture which can aggravate a damp problem in the house. Oak burns beautifully but is a tough heavy wood to cut and chop unless well-seasoned. Then there’s technique – how to hold an axe and how to strike the wood. And I’m still very much a newb and probably have most of what I’ve learned thus far wrong. But tbh I often chop wood in flip flops and whatever I’m wearing when I remember to chop some wood which is always just before I’m going to use it. I should definitely probably read that book by the Norwegian fella, and I could talk about chopping wood for quite a while. In fact just today I had a long conversation about it with a local who was telling me about his machinery to fell, cut and chop wood.
I once read a really interesting book all about ants. 🙂
I think the flag I’ve discovered in workplace situations (although my ex-N also exhibited this) is the arrogant expectation narcissists drape everywhere. How they can walk into an almost completely unknown situation and expect everyone else to conform to their sort of weird mix of lazy superiority. It tells me that they don’t really care about the job or other people. They just want an easy road because they’re so “brilliant”, and everyone else should shut up and fall in line.
It was interesting reading about your grandfather. Did he change his tune about your father after he found artistic success?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I was going to say that I’ve been lucky enough to never have experienced a workplace narcissist, but then I realised that was bullshit. I worked for my parents, and they hired quite a few narcissistic types to run the day-to-day of the business. Anyone who wasn’t a narcissist/very narcissistic tended to not last long working for my parents. Since I was younger and less experienced than everyone else, the entitlement, superiority, etc, would have seemed logical to me. Later on, after basically being everyone’s dogsbody as part of my training, it did begin to dawn on me that there was a lot of – I can’t possibly do that it’s not part of my job description/title, it’s beneath me I have a college degree (very narcissistic types use a college degree like it’s a doctor’s note saying that the bearer can’t do any work). I used to enjoy doing the stuff they considered to be menial, beneath them, because it meant that I didn’t spend too much time around them and was too busy to notice the soap operas they created to entertain them because they didn’t have much to do and were bored.
Narcissists in the workplace are like the characters in The Little Red Hen:
In the tale, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from the other farmyard animals (most adaptations feature three animals, a pig, a cat, and a rat, duck, goose, dog, or goat) to plant it, but they all disagree.
At each later stage (harvest, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and baking the flour into bread), the hen again asks for help from the other animals, but again she doesn’t receive any help.
Finally, the hen has completed her task and asks who will help her eat the bread. This time, all the previous non-participants eagerly volunteer, but she disagrees with them, stating that no one helped her with her work. Thus, the hen eats it with her chicks, leaving none for anyone else.
The moral of this story is that those who make no contribution to producing a product do not deserve to enjoy the product: “if any would not work, neither should he or she eat.”
– via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Red_Hen
re: my grandfather
Tbh, I don’t remember him at all. I know I met him a couple of times, one time my parents and I traveled to visit him, I do recall bits from that trip but none of them include him.
When my mother married my father, my grandfather disowned my mother and my mother severed ties with him too. She partly went to Italy to study opera just to get away from him, and he really disapproved of her doing that as young ladies from good families don’t go off on their own to foreign lands full of foreigners! They had always had a terrible relationship, but my mother had been doing that thing of – but he’s my father. She kept hoping that one day he would love her.
Everything I know of my grandfather was told to me by my mother. I’m not sure how much of it was true, but I reckon quite a bit of it. My uncle confirmed that my grandfather was not a good father – my uncle had an opportunity when he was a young man which relied on my grandfather to give his consent, but he refused and this was a large part of the reason my uncle had a nervous breakdown. No one in my mother’s family seemed to like him as he’d managed to alienate everyone with his superiority complex.
I recall my mother telling me about getting furious because when she decided to reconnect with him when I was born, he was completely disinterested in his grandchild. A few years later he sent my mother a letter informing her that he’d just received the happy news that he had a granddaughter. My mother said the way he expressed it made it sound as though this was his first grandchild. This was the baby of his stepdaughter, who was married to a Trinidadian, and the baby was given the same first name as me. After that when my mother spoke to my grandfather on the phone and told him about me, he’d think she was asking him about his granddaughter with the same name as me – in other words he couldn’t remember that I existed.
I vaguely recall my parents having an argument or two or three about my father giving a painting to my grandfather. My mother hated it when my father gave paintings to people who wouldn’t appreciate the value of the gift and the generosity of the gesture. I think there was also a story about my father giving my grandfather money so that he could buy a holiday home. I do remember my mother having many explosions about what an asshole her father was and continued to be. When he died I think he left both of his children and their families out of the will.
To be fair to my grandfather. My grandmother didn’t love him, she married him because she had to go home after the great love of her life broke her heart, she failed at being an actress, and her father told her she should marry my grandfather and be respectable. My great grandfather had met my grandfather when he had been in love with my grandmother’s sister, but she rejected his proposal and married the man she loved. So my great grand father thought my grandfather and grandmother would make a decent match. My grandmother did her ‘duty’ as a wife and bore him children, but other than that she tried to spend as little time as possible with him and she had affairs. His second wife, whom he married shortly after my grandmother died, was the big love of his life. She made him feel loved and his stepchildren made him feel loved. His own children hated him. My father didn’t give a shit about him and his opinions. And I didn’t care if he knew I existed or not because he was a stranger to me.
What a frigging soap opera 😉
Oh my. Soap opera? Oh yeah, in spades. You could do a mini-series, very dramatic, with Donald Sutherland playing the part of your grandfather. It explains a lot about your mother and how she was influenced. I’m surprised that he found late life (?) love like that. My ex-N, who is quite a chunk older than me, is seemingly making the rounds, looking for a place to lie down out of the weather.
Thank you for sharing. I am fascinated by the family histories of ACoNs. Sad, but fascinated all the same. I feel sorry for the little girl who was your mother, wanting her father to love her.
Yes, you certainly did work with narcissists. Although “with” is not really a way to describe it.
It’s more like that show “Survivor”. I reckon I’ve worked with at least four. What a shit show.
I’m very familiar with The Little Red Hen. One of the stories my mother used to read to me. Yikes.
My mother loved to tell me the story of Goldilocks over and over – she told me it was because I loved to hear it, she did change it every time she told it, but it was never one of my favourite bedtime or anytime stories. It was one of hers – which is kind of telling.
The Little Red Hen I read to myself. I recall thinking at the time that the hen was selfish – now, that’s a yikes! 😉
I only saw one season of Survivor – the UK one. There was one manipulative MF who was a psychologist and had everyone fooled until he couldn’t contain himself and blurted out the truth too soon, at the end when there were only three left.
The show didn’t do that well in the UK. The US series I think was only available through Sky and I didn’t have Sky at the time. I don’t recall ever seeing the US version, but I reckon it was similar to the US version of Big Brother – which was not at all like the UK version of Big Brother (which has since become a farce).
There was another series around at the same time known as The Mole – one person was a plant and had to scupper the game/reality show for everyone else to win. The original mole was superbly chosen and… it was a good lesson in Trust No One!
Fiction is a good way to figure out our narcissists.
HAHA! Donald Sutherland is so perfect for the role – srsly looks a lot like my grandfather!
My grandmother died fairly young from asthma complications – my mother was about 13, maybe younger, when her mother died. My mother was at boarding school in Canada at the time, and the headmistress had to deliver the news – it was delivered along the lines of: Your mother is dead, don’t make an unseemly for a young lady fuss about it.
I always knew why my mother was the way that she was because she told me loads of stories about her own history, and family history – which was informative but it also meant that I crippled myself with it. I couldn’t do to her what had already been done to her, I had to sacrifice myself to make things better for her, etc.
So my grandfather was also fairly young when he remarried and found love. I think his second marriage was longer than his first.
What about you and your family history. I know we’ve comment chatted about it before. Your mother was originally from the UK, and had a difficult time adapting to her new home, right? What about your father’s family history? How do you view the story of your family history, your ancestors, as affecting your own story? I know that kind of thing is private, so no worries if you don’t want to share.
Yup, ‘with’ is not the right way to describe, just as talking ‘with’ a narcissist is never ‘with’ but being talked ‘at’ by the narcissist. 😉
It seems like your mother didn’t get much nurturing or comfort (even if her father didn’t love her) either. So she kept trying to fill tbe gaps for herself in a child-like, Goldilocks (when I was a child I didn’t like that story – I thought old Goldi wasn’t someone I’d want to be friends with) way that she got stuck in for the rest of her life. When you’re focused on trying to fix yourself (or find “just right”), no one else is important, and after a while, when you realise you have an alligator hanging off your butt, you can’t remember why you went in to drain the swamp. So now you’re a victim, and you can’t understand why, and everyone’s picking on you …
I don’t mind sharing at all. 🙂 Yes, my mother was from UK (Sussex – and she was a snob about that). She came from a large family (13 kids at least with others who died in infancy) and apparently her mother had married “beneath her station.” She came from an old family with Norman conquest connections (something that my mother downplayed in spite of marrying a French guy from the “colonies”) and there are quite a few French names sprinkled about (the name I use here was my grandmother’s). My grandmother was apparently very kind and sweet; the one consistent comment I’ve heard about her is that everybody liked her. However, and from what I can tell, my mother’s father was very rough, tough, cold and self-centered.
My grandmother died when in her forties, with the four youngest, including my mother, all under the age of 13. My grandfather promptly married a much younger woman who didn’t want to raise four step-children, so my mother and her three bothers were farmed out to older married sisters. My mother soon left school and started work as a scullery maid at Arundel Castle (one of my uncles told me that; my mother never would have admitted to having had to work at a job like that). Then the war came along and my mother joined the army. She was trained as a radar operator and at 16 had some pretty heavy responsibility watching for enemy fighters and bombers. The war took a terrible toll: her father (who was a WW I veteran) was strafed by a fighter (he was a spotter) and killed, one brother was killed at Dunkirk and another taken prisoner (he suffered a lot of psychological damage) and a third was in the navy and killed at sea.
When she was 18 she met my French-Canadian father who was 6 years older and who had joined the British military very early before Canada declared war. He also experienced Dunkirk. My father’s family is orginally from Normandy and has been in Canada for about 150 years. So, relatively new. They were a very French, very pragmatic unit who prided themselves on hard work, good education (my father graduated from high school at a time when the vast majority of people didn’t), church, food, and doing your bit for others. They also had a habit of marrying English women. My father’s mother was from Dorset; his grandmother from Somerset. So, my father’s “French” family is really more English than French, even though they all spoke French and my father’s English was heavily accented. My father and his siblings all had very English names. … to be continued 🙂 (have to go atm).
I look forward to the continued 🙂
Wow! I love the blend of the two tales, how they intersect on so many levels.
I have this thing that I do which may be a part of dyslexia whereby certain words get stuck in my head and I love repeating them like a mantra, the reason I’m sharing this random bats in the brain belfry is because when you first started commenting on my blog d’Arty-Cross got stuck in my head. It’s a great sound to roll around, it’s a great name. It also had an association for me because Darty is a successful company in France, and I used to repeat that word in my head whenever I saw it in my wanderings around Paris. I wonder if you’re related to the Darty family?
Thank you. 🙂 I’ve never written it out like that before. Only told parts of it, so as writing so often does for me, I’m starting to see things I hadn’t noticed before.
You get word earworms? I sometimes get those as well, not very often though. It’s much more likely that it will be a music earworm, and I find those really annoying. I don’t know if I’m related to that family but it would be interesting to find out. I’ve been thinking of trying to find out more about my background, but I don’t want to go through Ancestry or one of those other companies. Maybe a retirement project. 🙂
So, to continue … my mom arrived in Canada in 1947 with my two young sisters to a situation that, to be fair, she didn’t understand. The language was a problem, she apparently didn’t get on with my grandmother and she missed her family. She was in a rural area without many services and my mother was used to the (pre-war) UK. My dad thought she was going to enjoy the peace (no bombs or bomb damage – both my parents experienced London during the Blitz), the availability of fresh food of every kind and the fact that my dad could buy some land and build their own house. But my father’s family found her snobby and difficult. His family liked to party in a huge group with lots of food and wine and kids running around, but my mother found this behaviour “common.” She was definitely a snob, but it was this sort of compensatory snobbery designed to hide her low self-esteem. Typical narcissist stuff. She really felt like she wasn’t “good enough,” but she certainly felt superior to us “colonists.” The upshot was that she wanted to go back to England (she probably should have – many war brides did), my dad saw that as economic suicide (and besides that, he had PTSD – from D-Day and other experiences) and also wanted to be with his peers who had the same war experiences as him. Despite the fact that my mother had a life that she was unlikely to achieve in England, this argument permeated their marriage. As battle veterans, the gov’t offered a choice of money for education or land (this was a thank you for service – I assume other gov’ts had similar programs). My parents chose education. My dad got a law degree and my mother finished high school and later became a counselling social worker.
By the time I came along, she had a fully established career and only took minimal time off to have me (although there is story out there that my oldest sister – who was 15 at the time – is actually my biological mother). No one (including my sister J who was 14 and would have known) will answer this question, so I think it might be true … In any event, my sister was taken out of school and put in charge of me for a long time (J told me that I was treated quite roughly – among other things – at that time). Eventually, she went back to school and my mother hired a nanny whose family I became quite close to.
They developed a social circle connected to their working lives and outside my dad’s family that seemed to please my mother but separated my father from them. Other than that, their lives functioned separately. They argued a lot if they were together. Then my mother and oldest sister were in a major car accident that left them in hospital for months. My mother was in a wheelchair for months after she came home and endured a number of major follow-up operations. She tried to return to work but by then had started to fully inhabit her victim role and she resigned after a few months. My sister was similar. She was already mentally fragile and prone to breakdowns, apparently from a very young age, J told me. The accident caused serious fallout on the mentl health front. My take on it now is that she’s a covert narcissist with maybe some borderline pd thrown in for good measure. My experience of her is that she’s delusional, paranoid, envious and obsessed with appearances. I have as little as possible to do with her and haven’t seen her since J’s death. If she were in my life, the first thing she would try to do is destroy my relationship with M. (And I’m digressing but this is also were my recollections are going … )
Meanwhile, I didn’t really have much experience with my dad. He had his hands full with two physically injured people whose mental state was also going sideways. He was trying to get J and my brother K (he’s 10 years older) up and running in life and I think he just didn’t have time for me. I was a little kid doing little kid stuff and he had much bigger, more immediate issues to deal with. I just rolled with it because I had to. Even now I have a tendency to just roll with tumultuous situations, maybe too much.
When the dust settled, J had finished uni and left, rarely to return. K had gone to uni, also rarely to return. My oldest sister A couldn’t settle at school and having been surpassed by younger siblings, dropped out again. She got married to a nice guy and proceeded to make his life miserable. They had a couple of children whom she for the most part abandoned (her daughters have both carried on this lovely tradition, each in turn semi-abandoning their kids). Like my mother, she was never satisfied with anything and always nagged, complained, manipulated and destroyed.
So, I eventually became the only one left at home. My parents’ social life became extinct and contact with his family dropped off although my dad hung on to memberships in a couple of service clubs and was religiously involved with them. He went hunting and fishing – his outlets. He would take out-of-province pd whenever he could and would also dart off to see my brother who was in law school.
After leaving work my mother became much worse. Her narcissism flourished even more and the only solace she had were her visits to England. My dad never went with her so I was always her +one. A. kept turning up now and then and spreading her various issues everywhere but other than that, I had little contact with my siblings. I was in high school, scheming to get away.
My mother later became ill and within 8 months she died. My dad remarried (very inappropriately as it turned out and all of us kids except A. – she was trying to curry favour – had issues with it, but that’s another story) and promptly moved across the country to be near J, who had been my mother’s scapegoat child (I had as well, but not to the same extent as J).
In many respects I didn’t have much of a relationship with him. He was always busy putting out fires or trying to keep himself sane, and in the end just wanted some peace and quiet, I think. He was the voice of reason and calm, but it took a lot out of him.
So that’s sort of it in a nutshell. 🙂 I had a lot of other details pop up while I was writing this, but I don’t want to take over your blog. 🙂
You know you’re not taking over my blog 😀
A question, which you don’t have to answer – How does the possibility/rumor which no one will confirm or deny that your oldest sister could be your biological mother affect you and your story?
It’s the sister with whom you have a difficult relationship because of her behaviour – could it explain some of her behaviour towards you?
Family histories, especially the secrets or perhaps-secrets within the family, can weigh on us and shape us even when we remove ourselves from them, or when they’re distant from us in other ways.
And the relationships between other family members before we came along, and after we came along have an influence over us even when we’re no longer a part of it all.
Sometimes those theories which are a bit out there, the metaphysical ones, make sense when the ‘facts’ don’t add up. Such as the theory that what is passed down to us from generation to generation, or by our parents, our immediate family, is in some ways the ‘wound’ we could heal if we can figure out our personal experience of it and heal that. It’s the individual part in the collective type of thing. What we do with our individual self ripples out from us and affects the collective, the close and personal collective, and the general collective.
I used to sometimes wish that I’d find out that my parents were not my biological parents. I had several different versions of how that would play out and why that would be helpful to me. If it had actually been the case, I think it would have explained some things while also causing some new things which would have needed explaining and understanding. In many ways we’re no one’s child, except our own.
Thank you very much for sharing, and if you would like to share more, please do – in some ways my blog is not mine, it belongs to everyone 🙂
I do know I’m not taking over but I did feel that way a bit. 🙂
I don’t mind your question at all. I’ve discussed it before with a couple of close friends and M. It’s affected me in different ways depending on where I’ve been in life and also much more when I was younger. A is mentally unstable and has been dangerous at times. She has been hospitalised for significant periods. So, when I was younger I wondered if her condition might develop in me as well, despite the fact that she started presenting with symptoms at 12 or so and I didn’t experience anything like that. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong but she has been diagnosed with both bipolar and substance abuse disorder (alcoholism). I don’t think either of these is accurate and after my experience with my ex-N I realised that she’s much more likely a covert narcissist with overtones of other personality disorders or mental health issues, like a mild form of psychosis. She does have periods when she’s stable, but even then she can be highly manipulative and vengeful. An interesting sidenote is that my mother had a sister who behaved amazingly the same, and my dad often described A as being very similar to this aunt. The idea of a sort of genetic mental illness then became very present for me when the story of my parentage reached me. I also look a lot like her and even have the same mannerisms, so I was afraid that her “condition” might show up too.
As I got older, I also went through a really angry period because I couldn’t get a straight answer, even though my auntie (my dad’s sister) and cousins treated it as a fact. I’ve come to terms with this question now though because in many ways, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am and possibly finding out through DNA (I have no plans for that) that she’s my biological mother won’t change that. I work on myself and I learn, learn, learn, about being a people ( as you would say) all the time. That work has made me a pretty good me most of the time.
I have thought from time to time that her behaviour is explained by the fact that I’m her biological daughter, but she often treated others in the same way that she treated me, it’s just that I got a more pure form of it. It’s almost like I was her scapegoat child.
Getting older has really helped me through this situation. I am okay with not definitively knowing. As you point out, we’re no one’s child except our own. My family of origin was very dysfunctional and it no longer exists as a unit. It’s scattered in bits and pieces. But you’re right, the ripples and echoes move along, bumping into each other and raising all sorts of stuff.
Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing your blog with me. 🙂
I think that some illnesses, particularly mental illnesses, may not be genetic so much as passed down in other ways through the family. If a family dynamic repeats itself then the consequences/effects of that dynamic repeats itself. And because humans tend to repeat family/relationship dynamics in their lives, especially the ones which hurt, caused pain, confusion (perhaps repeating them to get clarity/closure/healing), then certain wounds may get passed on. Maybe A and your mother’s sister have a similar personality type, sensitive to the same sort of things, and thus the repeated family/relationship dynamic had similar consequences on both of them.
Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and A Esterson – looks at Schizophrenia from the angle that in certain cases it could be caused by the family dynamic rather than by biological factors.
What I found intriguing about that book was that they looked into the theory that in every family there is a ‘scapegoat’ – someone who absorbs the madness (the illogical, the conflicting, the contradictory, etc) in the family and acts out thus allowing the rest of the family to see themselves as ‘sane’ compared to the ‘insane’ member. Basically like a ‘sin-eater’ – who heals everyone else by being the ‘sick’ one.
When they published their study it was revolutionary at the time and caused a bit of a stir. Those were times when being gay or having a child out of wedlock were still considered socially unacceptable. A lot has changed in society thankfully, but the old ways still rumble and grumble and prod and poke us.
I often find myself thinking about things which aren’t mine but which belonged to the generations before me – our families pass so much along, and I guess it’s up to each of us to figure those puzzles and problems out in our own way. Perhaps they’re not our wounds but ultimately as members of the collective all wounds belong to us even when they don’t because they affect us through others, through work, through play, through so many various ways.
What’s most interesting is what we do with what has been given to us – I may not know you in person, but as a person you have a remarkable quality, a strength of spirit which uplifts even when you are goign through a burdensome experience. Where did that come from? From you. Where do you come from? From you!
Not sure if I’m making any sense, I’ve had a couple of swigs of the red red wine as it is very cold where I am… probably not as cold as where you are. I’m loving everyone and everything right now 😉
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Thank you. That’s an interesting way of looking at it – that it was passed down through the family dynamic. I was quite scared for a long time that this condition would suddenly show itself. My dad didn’t like A very much (J was definitely his favourite and I believe he was also trying to compensate for her poor treatment from my mother), and in a way, he was really taking a swipe. A. knew that he thought she resembled our aunt and also knew why.
I have limited my contact with her but I have to say that in the past I felt very conflicted. I often didn’t know whether to be angry at her or sorry for her. I eventually got that it’s both. I can feel bad for her because there are parts of herself she’s not responsible for. But I can get angry about the parts that she is responsible for and that she refuses to deal with other than to infect others.
Thank you. Today my boss gave me card where she referred to my “strength” and also gave an ironstone (very pretty with red and gray in sparkly layers). It’s funny because I often haven’t felt strong – have felt more like I’m just pushing through. Right now though, I feel the strongest that I ever have. There’s something about this place and where I am right now that’s working well. 🙂
Drinking red wine? That’s a big favourite. 🙂 Yes, it is cold here -17°C and getting colder. And we’re down to about 6 hours of daylight now. It will shorten to about 4 before it starts turning around. M has been serving lots of comfort food and meaty reds. 🙂
This is beautiful and wise – “I have limited my contact with her but I have to say that in the past I felt very conflicted. I often didn’t know whether to be angry at her or sorry for her. I eventually got that it’s both. I can feel bad for her because there are parts of herself she’s not responsible for. But I can get angry about the parts that she is responsible for and that she refuses to deal with other than to infect others.” – love it!
What a wonderful gift from your boss, really thoughtful. Real strength tends to be like real anything – it doesn’t think about itself, it just keeps being what it is. So real strength = “I often haven’t felt strong – have felt more like I’m just pushing through.”
But sometimes, just sometimes, we get to sit within the real and appreciate it. You’re ‘home’. And in this ‘home’ you get to see what is real and be in it. You’re allowed to enjoy your own strength. It’s the fine red wine to warm you on a Wintry night, while it lights up the darkness with sundust 🙂
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Thank you. 🙂
Yes, I am home. 🙂
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PS – I found a documentary you might be interested in watching. https://m.youtube.com>watch
Unfortunately I don’t think that link will work. The piece is a documentary called The Psychopath Next Door and describes some of the work done by Robert Hare. You can find it on youtube. 🙂
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