Lost & Alone

My apologies for not posting sooner.

I had this blog all planned out and I even started a different post Family Secrets #2. But as life goes, my blog is also taking slight detour.

The last few weeks have been overwhelming with money issues, paperwork issues, and mostly family issues. And, sometimes when I get on overload the best way I know how to deal with it all is to just sit and stare out the window.  Not effective or efficient, but at times, can be my way.

In the last 2 weeks I have been scrambling for money just to survive, keep the lights on and put food on the table. My son just turned 18 so no child support. But I only have gotten a total of $1,000.00 for Child Support since MSTBX left in February 2011.

When MSTBX left, he left my son and I destitute. We both operated a business for the last 20 years and that was his and my only source of income. Somehow, MSTBX got away with taking all of the income of the business or at least temporarily (2 years temporarily) able to do so. All of that is still being fought out in the courts and who knows when that will end.

It has been interesting surviving since he left, but that is another long story. Luckily, I have always been a resourceful person.

My most devastating blows from the last few weeks came from my immediate family of narcissists. It is almost karmic that it happened

After posting Family Secrets 1, I felt so guilty even mentioning some of the few transgressions that I wrote regarding my immediate family.  I cannot understand why I would be so protective of those that perpetrated on me. I felt as though I was whining about nothing. As I have done for my entire life, I tried to reject my feelings for “the greater good” of protecting the family ways.

I try to dismiss their behavior to me because after all, compared to MSTBX, they are relatively harmless. At least that is what I try to tell myself, they are harmless.

Judgment is an odd thing. We should not judge because we may not understand, but then if we do not judge then bad behavior can proliferate without the restraints of judgment.

Then, I get even more confused. How do you judge bad behavior when it is compared to even worse behavior? After all nobody in my family is as bad as MSTBX, and he is not as bad as a serial killer. So are they all not that bad???

I sincerely struggle through this mess of narcissism and it’s effects on my son and me.

The solution that I have got from most books on Narcissism is to have “no contact”. That is easy if it is an X spouse or X relationship. Those ties are easier to sever.  If it is in your immediate family, what do you do? The interconnectivity of the blood and marriages of the entire family is so complex. Do you just walk away from everyone? And my son, what about him? Do I deny him access to the entire family because of the dysfunction of a few?

This new mess all started when my son returned from a 2 week vacation with his dad in Hawaii (probably why there was no $$$ for spousal support???). The suggestion of a vacation in itself was unbelievable since it was from a father who ignored his son for the last 2 years. Less than 10 days before they left for Hawaii, my son’s father called him and told him that he was taking him to Hawaii for 2 weeks. What 18 year old would not be excited?

I never got too many details about the trip, except that my son was ignored. My son is reluctant to share too much what goes on with his dad. I know he is trying to still figure it all out and he loves his dad. I try to keep him out of this mess as much as possible. My son still had a good time even though he was mostly on his own while dad golfed everyday. In spite of all the relatives that MSTBX has on the islands, they did not visit any. One can only speculate why.

After my son returned, it was about a week before he could no longer hold it in. Everything came out in a big screaming match between my son and I. He finally blurted out that his dad told him that it was my son’s fault as to why the marriage ended. MSTBX told my son that I had paid too much attention to my son and not enough to him!!!  I could feel all of the hurt and anguish coming from my son. I tried to alleviate it by telling him that his dad was married 2 times before and what his excuse for that??? I also mentioned that dad left because he thought he had something better. I may have eased some of the anguish but I knew he was still scarred.

I wish I could say that it ended there…

My son wanted to go visit his Grandma and an older cousin that lives near her. It is about a 7 hour car drive. That is an intentional geographic distance from her that I chose many years ago. I know some of you are wondering how I could send the lamb to the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Again my confusion as to where the boundaries of family need to be limited. My mother (Grandma) never played her manipulations on my son. I know she chooses her victims and I never thought he too would become one.

While visiting his Grandma, my son had to endure constant interrogation regarding his trip to Hawaii. Eventually my son confided in his Grandmother about how his dad said that he was responsible for the demise of the marriage. Can you imagine the devastation that my son felt when his own Grandmother, MY MOTHER, agreed with MSTBX that my son was responsible!!!!! This destroyed him and he was so broken about this when he came home and confided in me. How can I convince him now??? The wound just got deeper.

This whole divorce has really affected my son. This all started in Thanksgiving 2010, he was just starting his Junior year in High School. After his dad left, he went from a normal household to a welfare household in just a matter of 1 month.

My son lost all interest in attending school and he stayed home so much that he had to transfer to another school for a semester to catch up and then he could return to graduate with his class. That never happened. He even lost interest in the other school and just stayed home in his room and that is where he has spent 90% percent of his time for the last 2 years. Luckily he did sit for his GED and passed.

I was glad for him to at least go to Hawaii and I had hoped that it would help get him out of his room for a change. It did start to work and so I was glad he was going to see Grandma.

So it was 2 steps forward and then 3 steps back. My biggest motivation of getting through this mess is my son. That is the most difficult and devastating part of this journey. He is going through such a difficult time and I am the only one to guide him. No one else cares and he knows it. I want so much to protect him from the pain but I can’t.

My only hope is that this will make him stronger and he will learn from this horrible nightmare that we are living. He has watched all of his friends leave and go away to college and trade schools and he is so lost. I am lost too.

To complicate the issue further, I confided the incident about my mother to my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law one of the few voices of reason in the family, but she is married to my brother. My sister-in-law told the story to my brother and he decided to confront my mother.

Of course my mother denied everything and deflected everything on my son. She complained that my son slept in too late and she had to cook all the time for him (she told me she was worried about my son because he did not eat enough!).  .

My mother threw the bait for my brother and he took it. He called me and started to scold me about my son being so thoughtless. I was so shocked by his reaction that I did not tell him about the text I got from our nephew complementing my son on how attentive he was to his grandmother.

My brother also tried to tell me about how he was such a better person when he was my son’s age. At this point the only thing I could do was scream profanities on the phone to him. So many more family secrets about him, but as always, I just watched through the years and never uttered a word. It is as if he is oblivious to his own transgressions.

Right now, I feel so alone and I do not know where to turn. I only want to do right by my son. I chose to protect him from all of this. He does not know anything about his uncle. How could I ever tell him? How could I explain my brother, his uncle, to my son?

I know that things will get better, they always do. I just hope it happens soon.


Family Secrets 1

This one is difficult for me to write. I believe that we all have our family secrets. Nevertheless, I cannot say for sure if everybody has them, because they are after all secrets.

The stigma of mental illness within a family is so shameful that it is more than what most are comfortable to admit. After all if it runs in the family…

I was in my mid 30’s when I found out that my grandfather committed suicide. It took that long for my mother to admit to that. He had apparently hung himself when my mother was an infant. All my life, I had just accepted that I did not have a grandfather and that he died way back when. It was in the “olden” days, and, people just died.

By nature, I just try to get along and not enter into too much conflict. Therefore, in my life, I observed and stayed silent. The roles in family are so complicated. I see it like a choreographed dance that we all move to our routine and try to stay in step. We try not to mess up so we don’t throw off everyone else’s beat.

To complicate the issue further, the narcissist in the family is so skilled in concealing his/her darkness. Other family members and friends may only see whoever the narcissist may purport to be. It is always a risk to confront the narcissist or to warn the family and friends. The risk is that you could be the one that will end up looking like the paranoid sociopath contriving stories to gain undeserved attention or sympathy. Then the narcissist deftly ends up looking like the victim.

I know this to be true from my own personal experience. For so many years, I have stayed quiet. In spite of my dilemmas in writing about my family secrets, I know I need to. I have many stories to share.

It was an evening in February of this year; I got a call from my mother. It was already a year into the divorce. My life was, as it still is now, a nightmare of survival. I kept my mother up on most of the sordid events of the divorce. I held back some because of her advanced age (she is 94 years old) and she never had any type of coping skills for any type of dissension.

The phone conversation opens with my mother saying to me, “I know why your marriage ended.” I was thinking well, yes, she was witness to a lot of the deceit, horrendous financial abuses and incriminating behaviors. So why is she saying this? She proceeded to tell me why my husband left me. She told me how I paid too much attention to my son and not enough to my husband.  She kept going on and on about my failures as a wife and as a mom. My mind was reeling because I could not understand where she was getting this. Then she finally told me that she just picked up an email from my Someday To Be X.

Yes, he sent her an email, he had always found a sympathetic ear in her when he wanted to complain about me all of those years. My mother and I never got along when I was growing up. Now with him on her side, she could validate that it was really my fault that I could not get along with her.

I was so devastated that she would even acknowledge anything he said; after all, she knew what I had to endure the last year.

How could she say this? And that is exactly what I asked her. She knew I was upset and she did as she always does, she started back peddling. The damage had been done and I was distraught. She treated me like I was blowing everything she said out of proportion. This was one of her many tactics that she would use to try and diffuse what she had done. We ended the conversation with her inferring that I was some kind of crazed woman overreacting to her innocent conversation.

In my sorrow that night I think I googled “mean mothers” and somehow I happened upon Narcissistic Mothers. I found the title of Dr. Karyl McBride’s book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”.  Luckily, it was at the library and I checked it out the next day. It did not take me more than 2 days to read the entire book

Finally, after all these years I got a spark of complete clarity. All of all those questions about myself that have haunted me all of my life were being answered.

I finally understood that it really wasn’t me. I have stayed silent all of my life because if I dared talk to someone about it, I sounded like some ungrateful brat.

As a child, I was showered with clothes and all the accoutrements that many a young girl would envy. It was just never anything I wanted.  My desires and needs were completely ignored and I only got what she wanted me to have.  Most people loved my mom and thought I was so lucky to get what I got.

Her favorite expression to this day is “I always wanted a daughter”. I know this to be untrue because I WAS her daughter and I was never right with her. I know that she really never  “always wanted a daughter”, she always wanted a clone!

Growing up, I was constantly reminded that I was unattractive and overweight. When I look at pictures of me from back then, I really was not even that big or horrible looking. Still, I will never forget the feeling of how ENOURMOUS and UGLY I felt. Back then, my appearance humiliated my mother and it was a huge source of her anger and frustration towards me.

On the other hand, my brother was good looking and everything that my mother would have wanted in a man. Therefore, he was indulged in what he wanted. I hate even writing this down because I know if he ever read this, he would beg to differ. We do not have the same memories of my mother growing up, even though we grew up in the same house. How could two people grow up in a house with the same mother and see things so differently? Now I understand, that happens it all of the time. I am 60 years old now and it has taken me this long to figure it out.

I left home as soon as I could. In my second year of college, I studied abroad. When the school year ended, I dropped out of college and got a job there. I traded in my return ticket for home and purchased one going the opposite way.

I embarked on a journey around the world. It was my form of no contact. It was the 70’s so no email or cell phones. For many years, the only address that I had was Poste Restante in an exotic far away city. I would maybe make a phone call to home on Christmas day.

It sounds like a great ending to running away from a Narcissist. Unfortunately, the story does not end there, it barely begins.

I have so much more to share, but it is too much to post now, I will continue next week with more about my family secrets.  Until then.


In The Beginning…

When I first met my Someday to be X husband, he was vacationing from out of state with his mother and father. Back then; we were both in our late 30’s. I was so impressed with a man in this age bracket to be on a vacation with his parents instead of trolling with a bunch of yahoo guy friends.

I was guilty of consummating this relationship too early. He was leaving on a jet plane and I just chose to seize the moment. In the after glow of our consummation, he broke the news that he was separated from his wife!  I got angry and told him to leave. He begged forgiveness and said that it was only a matter of time before the divorce was final. I calmed down a bit and was angry with myself for being so impulsive. He left that day and I figured that was that. Sometime later, I got a call from him.  He wanted to know if he could write to me. Remember this was back in the days before email and texting.

So we started writing long letters to each other. That is how I thought I was getting to know him. He would sometimes call, but with the time change his working hours and my working hours, it did not happen except on my days off and sometimes then we would talk.

I thought these letters were bringing us closer. In the letters, he admitted to his failures in the marriage and that of course impressed me more. He was smart enough to NOT use the “she never understood me” line. At that time, I had no concept what leaving a marriage meant. I spent my time with single friends and rarely knew anyone in a functioning marriage. I initially never took a romantic tone in those letters, I just kept it friendly. But as the months progressed and we got to know each other more, he somehow knew exactly what I wanted to hear.

He lived in Hawaii and I was planning to move back to Southern California.  I had left there 2 years prior because I walked out of another disastrous relationship. My father had also just died. I decided to get out of town for a while and geographically relocate closer to my mother.

We decided that after my move back to So Cal, I would plan to visit him. So off to Hawaii I went.

I still remember one of the first of many red flags that I chose to ignore (I know the first red flag was that he was married!). It happened on my first visit. He told me we could not go somewhere because he was likely to run into some of his Soon To Be X wife’s friends. I promptly asked why that would be a problem? I thought all of this had been settled in the pending divorce. He tried to convince me that he did not want to go so I told him that I would continue on my vacation on another island without him. He profusely apologized and we went to that spot that night and after that. he took me anywhere I wanted to go on the island.

Back then he was so attentive, I demanded a lot and he indulged my every whim. After the vacation, I returned to So Cal to resume my life there. The letters and phone calls continued and the trips back and forth started.

He ultimately wanted me to move to Hawaii. I refused.  He asked if he could move to the mainland to be with me. I told him not to bother until his divorce was final. He eventually did move in with me in So Cal with his divorce papers in hand.

It wasn’t until now that I am going through all of this that I have contemplated on what his wife at the time was going through. Living on an island is like living in a small town. Everybody knows everything. So, can you imagine what she went through when her still husband at the time was parading his new girlfriend around? I cringe at my clueless insensitive behavior. No it was not intentional, I was so consumed by my own self-gratification that I chose not to pay attention to anything else. Now I wonder how separated were they? Was he maintaining a relationship with her in case things did not pan out with me? Was he even separated or was he still living as married when I first met him? Was I the one who inspired him to leave his marriage? These questions will never be answered. She died somewhere around the time we separated. I found that out when my Someday To Be X husband mentioned it in one of our “marriage counseling” sessions. I do not know the facts of her demise.

Some may say what is happening now to me is just Karma. That may be so. I believe that everything that he is doing to me now, he did to his second wife when he left her. Yes, that’s right I am #3. His excuse for ending the marriage to #1 was that he was just too young. (Yes, I know more red flags!). The big difference with me, #3 and her, #4, is that she knew he was completely married when she chose to be with him. Her best friend and I knew each other through our business.

Somehow, the knowledge that I am being punished for my earlier sins makes it easier to accept my struggles now. I get it. I now understand the meaning of marriage and separation. Sometimes in our loneliness, we are so starved for companionship we entitle ourselves to seize what we think we need. Yes, maybe I did her a favor, just as #4 is doing me a favor now. It was wrong then and it is still wrong now. One of those life experiences that I have lived and learned well.