Unknown Foreign Oddities

There’s this theory that our identity is made of memories – lose the memories and identity is lost.

My mother’s identity was made of anecdotes. I’m not sure how many of her anecdotes were made of real memories and how many were made up stories which she believed to be real memories.

My mother was a fantasist, and to her her fantasies were real. Tell a story as though it was real enough times and it becomes real.

When I was very young I believed everything she told me, especially as she regularly related anecdotes which depicted her as truthful, honest – ‘too honest for her own good’ was a sentence she often used to begin or end the story, sometimes it would bookend the story because that was the part of her identity she was confirming with that tale of herself.

As the years passed I began to have doubts about the veracity and accuracy of what she told me.

The doubts were small like I was.

Those doubts increased as I became older, and a character in her stories. Her version of me, who I was, had been, what I had said, what I had done, didn’t correlate with my version of myself, who I was, had been, what I had said, and what I had done.

“Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might feel who does not like his part and does not believe in the play.”


― Mignon McLaughlin

At first I trusted her version of me more than my own because my memories were fuzzy and hers seemed so clear. She was certain, inflexible… I wasn’t so sure, flexible.

If I questioned her version of events, of me, she’d inform me that she knew me and what had happened better than I did, her memory was impeccable, she was all-knowing, and she’d prove it with anecdotes.

As I got older and my own memories became clearer, the clashes increased between her version of reality and mine.

She often dealt with the challenges to her omniscience by using anecdotes to prove her right and me wrong.

If that didn’t work, she’d rely on another tactic, telling me tales of a younger me who was nicer, sweeter, well-behaved, and above all never argued with her, accepted everything she said. That was the me she loved and approved of not this me I was being now, and that was the identity I needed to have and be if I wanted her love and approval.

“Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.”


― Mignon McLaughlin

Neither of her versions of me, the perfect angel of the past and the devil in the present, was the identity I experienced.

There were always three versions of me when I was in her company – three bears and she was Goldilocks (when she wasn’t telling me stories about herself, her life, that was the fairy tale she loved to tell me, over and over again, slightly different every time).

Quite a few of her anecdotes about her childhood showed a similar dynamic to the one between us, between her and the adults in her early environment.

She was doing to me what had been done to her.

She often spoke of the pain this had caused her then and still did whenever she told those tales, and ended those anecdotes with something along the lines of – ‘you’re very lucky to have such a mindful mother who doesn’t do to you what was done to her‘.

The more she said it, the more she believed it. The more she said it, the less I believed it.

There’s a section in my brain’s RAM which stores many of her anecdotes. Hear something repeatedly and it’ll get stored, like advert jingles and slogans. Her stories also became part of my narrative, my memories – a portion of my identity is made of memories of me listening to her while she talked ad nauseum ad infinitum as though talking was breathing and if she stopped she’d die.

“No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you’ll see why.”


― Mignon McLaughlin

My mother’s favourite stories were all about how wonderful everything had been up until I was born.

She loved talking about her youth, her childhood, her bachelorette days, her meeting with my father and their glamorous fairy tale life together.

There’s this one anecdote which is probably more real life than not.

Why do I think that?

Well, partly because a few years ago I watched an old film – L’Avventura (1960) – in which there was a scene that was almost exactly like the experience my mother described in her anecdote.

L’Avventura film still – Monica Vitti surrounded by crowd of men – via BFI org: What Antonioni’s Movies Mean in the Era of Mindfulness and #MeToo

The film was released a few years after my mother’s anecdotal experience happened… although my mother did work in Cinecitta as an actress (she had an anecdote of a #MeToo with Fellini) at the time so she could have heard about the film before it was released.

However the scene in the film depicts something which was a common occurrence in small villages in Southern Italy if you went there and were a foreigner, alien to the area, a bit or more than a bit different.

Her story was about the early days of my parents’ relationship, when they were young and in love, about an artist and his muse going on a trip to the land of my father’s birth and toddlerhood – a place not often visited by tourists in those days, even Italians from other parts of the country didn’t go there unless they had to.

My father parked his car just outside of a small town, leaving my mother and their Siamese cat in it while he went off to do something – probably to take photographs. They’d been driving around all day, stopping along the coast and my mother was tired of my father’s artistic activities.

As she sat in the car alone, a group of local men appeared on the desolate road. They spotted the car and approached it. When they saw its contents, they moved in for a closer inspection.

My mother said that the way they behaved made her feel as though she was in a cage at the zoo. She felt trapped, stared at and frightened.

They started to discuss the car and the stuff inside.

They were puzzled.

What was this unidentified foreign object? They had never seen anything like it before, it was an unknown – and unknowns trigger fear and suspicion. Why was it there and from where had it come? What should they do about it?

My mother worried that they might decide to attack the unidentified foreign objects. Open the car, drag her out… dissect the alien invader.

The moment was intense and tense on both sides, then the men concluded that it was all – rob’ Americana (American stuff).

My father returned. He glared at the men, they returned the glare – a swarthy local greeting. He was one of them. The rob’ Americana belonged to him… so it was okay then even though they still weren’t quite sure what it all was. They backed off and watched the rest of the show from a respectful distance.

My mother got annoyed at my father for leaving her alone for so long. My father got annoyed with my mother for getting annoyed with him and making a big fuss over nothing.

“The hardest learned lesson: that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind.”


― Mignon McLaughlin

I’ve shared this story before (probably a little differently since it’s not my story, not my memory, it’s a memory of someone else’s memory thus it’s stored in a slightly tattered scrap of yellowed paper form in my mind) in a post somewhere on my blog shortly after I watched L’Avventura.

I’m sharing it again now because for some reason it popped into my mind when I saw Fandango’s most recent Provocative Question:

Do you believe that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for these sightings, like unannounced or unauthorized drone flights or space junk falling back into the atmosphere, or do you think that the objects these pilots saw were actual UFOs?

Based on the story which Fandango related in his post, which isn’t his personal story but the stories of others passed onto more others… it sounds like it is a UFO = Unidentified Flying Object.

Since it happened in America, it’s rob’ Americana.

22 comments

  1. Rob’ Americana (autocorrect wanted to turn it into Ron’s America, which fits in with the theme of your post 🙂 ) – I experienced an opposed form of that in my work town when I first arrived. I’m not from here, but we outsiders are all the same and for the most part, uninteresting. We are supposed to notice them and investigate them even as they are standoffish. It’s a fascinating (and sad) result of all the trauma here.

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    • What’s Ron’s America? I did a search but didn’t find anything specific.

      If you think about it, what you’ve described of your experience in your work town is similar to how children of narcs tend to behave with everyone – being standoffish, especially when someone notices us and tries to investigate us. Being wary of everyone because we’ve been hurt over and over, punished for trusting, for allowing others to get close to us.

      One of the things about being an outsider is that you are an unstable entity – you can leave at any moment just like you arrived. You have no ties which bind you to the community, to the place. If the locals, the insiders, take the time and make the effort to get to know you, to welcome you, to get close to you… and then you just leave because you’ve found a job elsewhere, you’ve been relocated, you never wanted to live there in the first place it was just where you had to be for work… who gets hurt, you or them?

      I remember an aha moment when someone finally explained to me that they couldn’t allow themselves to be my friend because I had no fixed address, I moved around too much, and they needed their friends to be always available for them like a home to return to when life was hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Ursula, my apologies – there’s no official “Ron’s America” that I’m aware of; I was attempting to make a small joke around how, as your mother had her anecdotes, and as I tried to type in rob’ Americana, the datadase had it as Ron’s America, and it occurred to me that there probably is, somewhere, an American narcissist named Ron who lives through anecdotes as well. That joke fell flat. 🤪

        I agree completely with your interpretation. It’s as if people here have had to deal with narcissists, and that would be true. Hundreds of years of the worst kinds of exploitation and all of the other dishes on the narcissistic banquet table, and even up to and including forms of genocide. White folks have to earn trust again, and that will take a long, long time with consistent behaviour. It’s a work in progress.

        I have worked here for 2 and a half years now, and I am being slowly accepted, up to a point. I am a “hired gun” so to speak, here to do a job and do my best at it. I am paid well to do it, and I work hard. There is a possibility of relocation, and of course, I will most likely retire in a few years. But if I were to want to retire here, for instance, that would be seen as strange. Why would I not go back to my people? Be with my and M’s kids? If not, why not? Were we ejected for some reason? That would open a whole other can of mistrust. There is an expectation that we will leave, and that we should leave.

        That is one reason why I have made a distinction about where I work and where I live. But I have given a lot of thought about how to stop this cycle of outside hires so that we become more of a rarity rather than the norm. My number two is from here, and my number three is from the general area. It’s a start.

        I love your aha moment. My real life friends are a sort of family, in some ways, more so. I very much miss them.

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        • Haha! I realised there was a joke there, but I thought getting the joke needed for me to know what Ron’s America was – I thought since autocorrect was involved it might actually be a thing. 😀

          I love your attempt to break the cycle, it’s inspiring, wise and very logical. It shows a depth of understanding. Even when a person is just passing through, they can have an impact 🙂

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  2. Oh, I forgot to mention the new header is striking and your touch-up on the image is perfect! On mobile, the focus falls on the hand and on the left side of the screen I can sort of see half a face there in the effects. This new theme and header give your blog a new and different ambience. Interesting 😉 Btw, i tried the using the same halves of my face and make two faces. Haha, one face looks fine just a slight difference, the other face looks weird and elongated. Maybe I will attach them in my next post if I find a way…

    “That was the me she loved and approved of not this me I was being now, and that was the identity I needed to have and be if I wanted her love and approval.” This reminds me of my ex, coincidentally I’m writing a post on that—the first of a new series A Step into The Past. The bits and pieces you share in your posts about you and your partner sometimes reminds me of the good memories I had in that relationship. During this time, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a lot of memories with my ex especially after the first two years. I kept more memories of the first love and maybe even muse..

    Qn: What was the most sane or insane thing you consider to have done in your adulthood before you met your partner?

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    • Thank you very much, Reverist 🙂

      It’s a weird and fun photo experiment. It’s worth keeping in mind that we never see ourselves the way we actually look, and a photograph is like a mirror so it doesn’t show us as we are, every lens like every mirror distorts and alters our features a bit too.

      I think we remember what ties into our main story of being, and forget what doesn’t… sometimes we recall something we’d forgotten because it becomes relevant to where we are now. When we change how we experience ourselves, what we remember also tends to change.

      Hmmm… the most sane or insane thing I did as an adult before I met my partner…? Sane or insane according to me or according to other people? According to other people pretty much my entire life is one insane thing done after another 😉

      I didn’t have any romantic relationships until I met my partner – some people think that’s insane, I think that was a sane thing to do.

      I did go out on a few dates, I think it was three single dates… nope, it was four, I forgot the one with a good friend because for me it wasn’t a date, I only realised it was a date for him at the end of it. He gave me his old Kendo practice sword as a gift, and serenaded me with a song he’d written about me. He had a life just as weird as mine – it would not have been a good match. Besides I’d just met my partner at the time 🙂

      One was a blind date organised by my mother and the editor of a magazine, it was unusual for my mother to do that since she liked the fact that I didn’t date, she’d get jealous and envious when someone found me interesting and would proceed to ‘seduce’ them away from me. The blind date was fun because neither of us wanted to date each other and so we went out as friends to a baseball game.

      Another date happened because while walking along the seafront, my mother ended up looking after a sick booby bird due to chatting with the woman who had been looking after it but she had to leave so of course my mother decided to take her place – remember my mother was nuts, and she loved getting attention, sitting with a sick bird on the seafront got her a lot of attention. She sat with the bird for a couple of hours, and I had to stay with her. This guy walked up to us and eventually he helped rescue the bird by calling a local animal rescue – he said I owed him a date in return. He also mentioned he’d seen me around and couldn’t figure out how to approach me. So I went to a comedy club with him, but I made him take my mother on the date with us. She fell asleep during the comedy routines at the table. Poor guy, I was evil to force my mother on him, but it was better to rip the bandaid of fairy tale romance with his fantasy version of me away immediately.

      What did you actually have in mind when you asked the question?

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      • As you know, I read several of your old posts and I must admit that I could relate to plenty of your sentiments as in the past I had similar thoughts though the experiences were different, yet I had those sentiments too. But of course, it’s talking about the past and may or may not be applicable now.

        I was reminded of a HK film City of Glass last night while writing—mostly drifting in nowhere—and the story in the film began with the lovers meeting in Paris on a New Year’s Eve and died in a fatal car accident at the stroke of midnight. Paris is a romantic city even in death… The film was by the same director of The Soong Sisters, a notable historical drama in revolutionary China in the 1900s.

        So shortly after, you posted this, I read it, and the question popped up in my mind 😉 I was wondering about the time you were in Paris, was it there you mentioned that something fatal nearly happened?

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        • I got acute appendicitis while living in Paris, I was ill for a while and sort of knew it but I was also deeply depressed at the time. Paris is a great city for depression since the skies are often grey, there’s a dampness which seeps into your bones, its a very solitary place easy to feel invisible, ignored, alone, and it has a rather heavy philosophical personality (Nausea by Sartre for me captures the essence of living in Paris even though it isn’t set in Paris). The appendicitis wasn’t particularly painful like they show in films and TV shows, it was a dull ache even when it reached the acute stage. I contemplated not seeking medical attention for it and just letting nature take its course.

          Certain experiences of the past are always a part of us even in the present, as a reminder, a point of reference, they can evolve from what they were into what they mean now for us. Some places where we live are intertwined with an element of character, of psyche, and helped to develop it, get to know it. Paris in some ways was a very Pluto and Scorpio experience for me, with a certain Saturn je ne sais quoi 😉 When those get activated in the now, I tend to think in French.

          I’m trying to think of a film which I consider to be very Paris like I knew it and experienced it… it should be a French film. I can’t think of one just now.

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      • Btw, I enjoyed the stories of the dates you had. I thought that the guy who gave you his Kendo sword was sweet! Lol, I don’t like the word sweet but couldn’t think of a better description. Haha, there wasn’t any evil you done on the last story, that was most appropriate I thought becos he actually helped your mother who had the bird, not you. That’s was an outwardly lame excuse for a date I thought 😀

        “I think we remember what ties into our main story of being, and forget what doesn’t… sometimes we recall something we’d forgotten because it becomes relevant to where we are now. When we change how we experience ourselves, what we remember also tends to change.” I can see your point in this statement, however, this is pretty subjective to individual’s experience and it also depends on the context when tis being said.

        The very first time I read your post Decompartmentalising Yourself, I contemplated on the title, simply becos I’ve been trying to compartmentalise myselves so to arrive at a full integration with all the compartments in the right places. I know it may sound ambiguous here but I can’t explain it better…

        Ya, I read about the appendicitis op somewhere, when was that you got it? I got three scars on me…lol I could spin some exciting stories on that really, but these scars really came solely from my carelessness. One is on my chin, another on my chest and the last on my wrist, yes wrist, that is a neat one and it healed beautifully though it’s very much visible 😉

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  3. The idea of losing our identity with lost memories is both frightening and intriguing. Fibromyalgia causes my memory to be fuzzy on the best days and non-existent on bad days. I don’t like the idea of losing my identity, I like who I am. Finally.
    It’s intriguing to think about new memories making a new and improved me though.

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    • I agree with you, Angie, making new memories is the way to go, ones made of enjoying who we are in the moment 🙂

      When I was younger I longed to get amnesia, the burden of the memories and identity I had made me hate myself, and I wondered who I’d be if I didn’t know who I was – the real problem though was that I didn’t know who I was, I was an amalgam of who everyone else thought I was and kept telling me that I was. Narcissists cause a lot of brain fog and fug. Over time I realised that many of the burdensome memories were misremembered, or weren’t my memories. I sort of did a lot of time traveling and cleaned up the memories, removed the filters which had been placed on them, and it cleared things up a bit.

      Overall I don’t bother too much with identity-memories on a daily basis. I don’t think about who I am, I just am. I don’t need to remember myself when I can just be spontaneously whatever. If someone says to me – why are you doing that, it’s not like you to do that, you don’t do that… I usually say – Well, I’m doing it now 😉

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  4. Fascinating, but all your ‘antecdotes’ ARE. You’ve certainly had a traumatic life, but it was never boring (I bet). My mother was known for telling her ‘stories’ (we weren’t sophisticated enough to label them antecdotes), and embellishing those tales. Now my brothers don’t believe a THING she ever said and will roll their eyes and cut a person off in mid-sentence if it’s known the source came from my mother. I know she embellished her tales, her life was pretty sad – start to finish – and why not embellish things and make them more palatable for an audience. My mother was a true story teller. That’s the bit that my brothers miss and I’m a bit sorry for them because they don’t know what they’re missing, they only see the tales as ‘lies’. Sad. I enjoy listening to others’ stories and it’s irrelevant to me if the story is true or not, it takes me into someone else’s life for a moment. That’s precious to me. Vicarious some others would call that, and maybe that’s true. But as long as it isn’t harming anybody, what’s the problem?

    Thank you sincerely Ursula for sharing your life with us. I know that must be hugely frightening on some level, because you, like me, have been called ‘liar’ often enough to want to never say anything ever again. Tell a story or share something of oneself? Nope, because of the monsters that taught us speaking was ‘bad’ and we were evil for daring to do so. Here’s to us…we’re survivors most of all and brave. We SHOULD share our tales.

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    • Thank you very much, Melanie 🙂

      I enjoy listening to people’s stories too. It does matter to me if they’re lying, making shit up, embellishing the truth, because that too is part of the story. It’s an intricate part of it, and I’m intrigued by where, when, how and why they choose to do it. It tells a story about the storyteller and the stories they’re telling. Like you pointed out about your mother, she had a very good reason to embellish her tales, and that too is part of her life story, it was how she dealt with the pain, sadness, and all those other experiences which are difficult to talk about openly so we express them indirectly.

      Embellishments are a part of story telling, especially if the story is based on a memory. Memories are often fragmented like dreams once you wake up, and if you just relate the fragments it isn’t entertaining for the listeners, and the listeners are also part of the story being told. Some listeners want to be swept away on a magic carpet ride to foreign lands, faraway places, perhaps a castle in the sky. Some want a scary campfire tale. Some want to have wisdom imparted to them which explains a personal mystery, others want a mystery they can puzzle over and perhaps be the first to figure out. Some just want facts and to argue with the facts.

      I think vicariously experiencing something is at times the best way to do it. There are certain human stories which I am very relieved I did not have to experience for myself, and I am grateful those who did shared their experiences so that I could learn from what happened to them.

      One of my favourite ‘living it vicariously’ stories was about a guy who was adrift in a rubber dinghy on the Atlantic for 2 months after his boat hit something in the night and sank.

      It’s also fun to imagine living something amazing which happened to someone else, without having to do all the work they had to do 😀

      We should all definitely share our stories, you’re absolutely right! Those are the real treasures we have to share with each other.

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  5. Your posts are so deep, I never know where to begin. I wasn’t quite sure I grasped your mom’s story, other than she was upset your dad wasn’t giving her enough attention and blamed him for her being “an animal in a cage.” If I’m missing something, let me know, because my mom always demanded attention from my dad. I may just be comparing.

    I DID understand your mom telling you who you were. My mom (both my narc parents are Italian-American, btw) told me all about my flaws when I was growing up. For example, I made mountains out of molehills. I couldn’t handle even little mishaps without freaking out. By the time I got married and moved 1,200 miles away, I had a good handle on how flawed a human being I was. I even warned my husband. After all, my mom told me all about who I was, and she knew everything. However, as I got to know myself in my new home away from family, I learned that every single flaw my mom projected onto me, was the exact flaw she exhibited. I learned she was the one who made mountains out of molehills, not me. I won’t name all the flaws she projected onto me that I realized she was doing. I have my own flaws that are uniquely mine, but they aren’t the ones she projected.

    I was a little confused about the movie that reminded you of your mom’s anecdote/story. Do you think your mom was aware of that movie and used the story? My dad has done that before. Or, was it just a weird coincidence that it portrayed your mom’s story so well?

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    • When I write about my parents, particularly my mother, I’m usually trying to unravel the knots of confusion while writing about them. I tend to jot down whatever comes to mind. So it’s likely to cause a confusion ripple effect when read. It doesn’t always make sense to me either, although sometimes I spot connections which I missed before, notice a pattern, find a thread which leads to a small aha and some clarity.

      One of the aspects of being the child of narcissist parents is that you start out in the middle of a muddled story when you become a member of the family, and you get woven into this complex web made of their disorder. Since they can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not, what’s imagined and what actually happened, their stories are a mixed up mess of some real stuff and lots of unreal and surreal stuff.

      My father’s anecdotes were usually all made up stories, he often took tales from books he’d read and enjoyed and rewrote them as something that happened to him. He rarely shared real stories about himself because he was super secretive and paranoid that people would do to him what he did to them – take their personal story and use it against them, to manipulate them, to ridicule them.

      My parents did travel down to my father’s hometown, they went there more than once because he still had family there. I think that anecdote was about their first trip there, my father probably took her down there to introduce her to his grandparents. My mother had never been south of Rome before then, and so she didn’t know what it was like. My father most probably didn’t warn her that the locals in those days tended to treat foreigners like suspicious objects. My mother was frightened and that’s why she got annoyed with my father. Since my father was a local, he didn’t understand how frightening it had been for my mother. He also knew the locals wouldn’t have actually done anything to my mother, but my mother didn’t know that.

      The movie showed a slightly exaggerated version of something that was common in that part of Italy in those days. It’s not the only movie which depicted southern Italians like that. Even more recent films and TV shows still show southern Italians as insular and mistrusting of foreigners, such as this excellent TV series – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gomorrah_(TV_series).

      Decades after my mother’s story happened, I visited my father’s home town in the 80’s and stayed there for a week or so, and the locals would just stare/glare at me, point at and discuss me like some sort of alien which had crash landed there. Although word got around quickly that I was my father’s child, so I wasn’t a threat to them just a curiosity.

      When I went No Contact from my mother, she told people that I’d been brainwashed by my partner who had turned me against her. It didn’t even occur to her that I might have a brain of my own. And it also didn’t occur to her that the final straw which made me finally go NC was her calling me evil because I told her I couldn’t give her my partner’s money so that she could keep financing some con artist she’d met in the street who had promised her millions in return.

      Narcissists are nuts, and when you get away from their sphere of influence and spend time with non-narcs, it’s like being flipped upside down and realising that you’ve lived your entire life the wrong way up thinking it was the right way up, and suddenly you’re seeing things the right way – which includes yourself. 🙂

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      • Yeah, I went to Italy in 1980 and the locals stared at me like they’d see an alien. I was warned about this in advance, so I didn’t freak out.

        Curious. Did your parents stay married? Mine stayed married for 27 years, then divorced. My brother and I were already adults and living on our own. Do you have any siblings?

        I mentioned to you before that my parents have softened in their old age. Like I said, in their younger years they were like Don & Betty Draper. My dad was a locally famous drunk, cheating narc and my mom put up with it while acting the martyr.

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        • Trying to explain my parents’ relationship status tends to leave people confused. It was like a soap opera with mind-boggling plot twists.

          One time when I was at high school in Paris the headmistress called me into her office to discuss how I was doing and asked me about my parents, their relationship status and living arrangements, and I shut the conversation down because even though she was French and thus used to the idea of marriages which weren’t conventional, I didn’t want to explain what even I wasn’t clear about and then deal with the confusion it caused.

          My parents stayed married but didn’t live together – they lived in separate countries. According to my mother that particular marital arrangement started due to my father’s fault of course, something he had and hadn’t done meant I couldn’t go to school in Italy. Then she changed her story later and said it was my fault for rebelling against being sent away to boarding school. Then the story changed again and she said she used my schooling as an excuse to get away from living in Italy. My father didn’t want to leave Italy to live with us in the UK.

          We’d all get together during school holidays usually at the house in Italy, but most of the time that they lived under the same roof they fought or found ways to avoid each other.

          My father had loads of affairs and my mother played the long-suffering saint of an artist’s wife, his “model” lovers sometimes stayed with us as house guests, but he eventually settled down with one mistress who had been the mistress of a friend of his who had died. There was a rumour that he’d got a quickie divorce and married the mistress while he was still married to my mother. That was never confirmed, and it wouldn’t have been legal. My father found that rumour and the effect it had on my mother to be very amusing.

          My parents also ran a business together – and that too was a soap opera with many mind-boggling plot twists.

          When my father died I found out that he’d obtained a legal divorce from my mother just before he died, but his lawyer effed things up and my mother invalidated the divorce after his death. My father always said he’d never divorce my mother because he was Roman Catholic (he was only religious when it suited him), but the idea that she would inherit his stuff once he died made him furious… or at least that’s one story about it which was related to me by his mistress.

          I’m an only child. My parents were my siblings 😉

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          • Oh yes, sounds like lots off plot twists. I had a lot of drama growing up, but you had more. Although, my dad’s main mistress stalked my mom.
            It’s hilarious about the Catholics-not-allowed-to-divorce thing. My dad said the SAME THING about not divorcing my mom, yet he cheated every chance he got. My mom was the one who finally filed for divorce. Yet they’re both NON-practicing Catholics. 😛

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            • Do you think that your dad’s mistress was a narc too maybe? It can be enlightening to explore the relationships our narc parents had with others, and observe the patterns they repeated as it can offer insight into their narrative, which can explain some of their behaviours towards their children as they tend to repeat the same story over and over and over like they’re stuck in a loop looking for someone or something which will rescue them from the endless looping around.

              One of the intriguing aspects of sharing our children of narcissists stories with each other is how often they’re so similar, as though we all had the same parents. Lynette and I have often been stunned by how much her mother and mine were like peas in a pod. It can be very healing to realise that even though we felt very alone in the experience, we weren’t and aren’t alone in it 🙂

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              • Hey Ursula. Yes, definitely my dad’s mistress was a narc. After my parents divorce, my dad remarried and my mom did not (my mom dated, but she kept picking the same types of men). My dad’s second wife is a HUGE narc. She’s worse than my dad. It’s strange that narcs are attracted to other narcs. You’d think they’d want people who are clueless about the manipulation game so they could manipulate.

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                • I think it may depend on the type of narc as to who they’re attracted to and why. Since your parents, like mine, were both narcs it means they are the types of narcs who find other narcs attractive when it comes to intimate relationships, so they’re more likely to gravitate towards another narc.

                  If a narcissist needs their intimate relationship to be volatile and dramatic, full of manipulative games with both sides trying to outsmart each other, then the best partner is another narc. They’ll play off of each other. The drama, volatility and manipulative games is what fuels them.

                  My father preferred other narcs because it offered him a challenge which he couldn’t get from non-narcs. He found non-narcs “boring” often because they wouldn’t play their part, they weren’t into manipulative games or at least they didn’t play them the way he wanted and needed them to play them. He enjoyed poking, prodding and provoking people to get an emotionally violent reaction – the best targets for that were other narcissists. The mistress he settled down with was in many ways very similar to my mother – both women were totally obsessed with my father, and both were emotionally explosive. He liked to play the Let’s You And Him Fight game (from Games People Play by Eric Berne) with them, getting them to fight over him, it was very easy to get them to do that.

                  My mother was utterly and completely focused on my father – her vision and version of him, and her narrative of being the wife of a great artist. I watched a film the other night which beautifully captured her narrative – The Wife (2017) with Glenn Close.

                  There’s a “Golden Couple” quality to two narcissists who get together. During the “honeymoon” phase they can appear to be the fairy tale dream couple come true. Their personas together become bigger, larger than life, they enjoy the extra attention it gets from others. Their fantasies join forces. They generate a sort of vortex around them which they find attractive, they need to be in a constant storm of relationship drama. There are a few celebrity couples which appear to be examples of this type of union.

                  If you’re dealing with the type of narc who is attracted to other narcs, the best way to get them to stop messing with you is to become “boring”, and react with boredom when they poke, prod and provoke you, not get caught in their human chess games 🙂

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