The Narcissists We All Love

Reading  about all these allegations about Bill Cosby has gotten me thinking about how we can choose to ignore  another one’s “shortcomings” if the rest of the person is appealing to us.

Who did not like Dr. Huxtable? On TV he portrayed such a great dad and husband. Sometimes we confuse the public persona as the real person. It is so easy to believe what we want to see. I understand that these stories are only allegations of rape, but for me there are too many.

And these stories about the drug that these women were given hits too close to home. The same thing happened to me back in the 1970’s. I know most of the doubters say why did it take so long for them to come forward? And why did they not tell anyone or do anything?

I can only tell you of my own personal experience.

First of all it started out pretty innocent. A friend and I were invited to visit the quarters of Captain of the ship that we were traveling on. We were offered a cocktail and that is the last thing I remembered. When I woke up in the early hours of the morning, I was laying on the couch. I just got up and went back to my cabin and I went to sleep with my clothes on too tired to change. My friend that I had gone to the Captains quarters with was already there asleep in her bed. I was still too out of it to think anything had happened. I somehow was not thinking about anything but lying down.

When I woke up, my friend had asked me what had happened the night before.  I told her I did not remember anything but I woke up on the couch in the Captains quarters. She told me that while sitting there talking to the Captain that she was feeling strange and just got up and left. A steward found her wandering the deck and escorted her back to our cabin.

When I got up to go to the bathroom that morning, I noticed that the crotch of my baggy silk pants that I was wearing was completely torn. It was like it had been ripped open on the seams. That was the only indication that I knew something had happened. It still haunts me today.

We disembarked the ship that afternoon. And outside of my friend knowing about what may have happened, I have never really talked about it. I only admitted it to one other person. The reason I told that person was because he was doubting a story that his girlfriend had told him about a similar experience of being drugged.

It really does happen and so many of us just try to move on. It is almost like we justify ignoring it because we barely remember or like me don’t remember it all.

Some may say, why did we go to his quarters?  Everyone did, he entertained a lot of the passengers in his quarters. He was not some slimy character. He looked like someone’s dad.

Narcissists hide amongst us all and I believe that it is so hard to tell. I believe we can be some of their biggest fans, unbeknownst to us.

I feel that so many of our politicians get away with so much, especially, if he is one of your guys. It is so easy to overlook one’s shortcomings when the narcissist is on your side fighting your fight.

Think about our sport heroes and everyone else in the entertainment industry.

One of the persons that shocked me the most was Steve Jobs. Who is more loved and revered than him? My favorite is his 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” You got to love it.

I was so shocked when I read some of the excerpts from the expose from Chrisann Brennan, the mother of his first child. It took him decades before he would even acknowledge his daughter. While making millions and maybe billions, he kept his daughter and her mom on welfare, not even keeping up with support. Even after a paternity test proved he was the father, he dismissed it and said that 28% of the population could be the father (this was in the olden days before accurate DNA tests).

Yes he was a visionary and contributed a lot. But do we overlook this trait? Do we let it slide? His daughter eventually did.

It is amazing how a whole lot of money, power, good looks, charisma etc. can help us overlook those pesky little misdeeds. The excuses that they make somehow are much more acceptable than the ones the others make that have none of those characteristics.

We humans are so multidimensional. We all carry some good and some bad. But some of us can hide our darkness so well or obscure it in plain sight.

The best Narcissists are those that can generate a group of admirers.  As an observer, those are the ones we are easiest fooled by, especially if that persona is reinforced by the media or even a large group. Those people can even help the Narcissist to evoke our sympathy and support.  They even have the power to convince us that it is the victims who are at fault with their diabolical intentions.

The constant reinforcement of the media or the group helps us to keep seeing what we want to see. It helps us to maintain that narrative that we love and desire to perpetuate about them.  We like to protect those Narcissists that we all love.

If Only I Could Find A Job…

For the last few weeks, I feel like I have been drowning. It is as though I am barely treading water and I am continually sinking into the abyss exhausted from the struggle. Only occasionally, can I muster the strength to pull myself up to gasp for air.

I hate admitting to being so weak; I wanted this blog to be a story of survival and not of being a victim. Yet, here I wallow in my anxiety and despair.

November has become a difficult month since that is when the nightmare of my marriage escalated into the financial and emotional upheaval in 2011. This was when MSTBX had decided that he was no longer obligated to provide for his family. It had already started many months, (years even) of him withholding money but now he blatantly started to completely cut us off. Now his stark resentment about paying for the household expenses in the home that he was still living in became glaringly apparent.

I am now embarking on my 3 rd year into this mess. I am fighting a foreclosure on the house that my son and I reside in, we have nowhere to go and for whatever reason, I cannot seem to find a job.

My life is a big mess, and financial instability is at its peak. When MSTBX moved out in March 2012, he closed all bank accounts and left my son and I on our own. At first, I did not believe that he was really doing that and then I thought that this would all be settled in the courts soon. Wrong on both counts.

We BOTH started the business about 20 years ago and it was his and my only source of income and employment for the last 19 years, yet he reaps all of the benefits and hides his income through the veil of the corporation.

His tactic in the courts is that he pleads poverty and he knows he can get away with this because I have no money to prove otherwise. His other tactic is to drag this out in hopes that my attorney will eventually leave because he knows I have no source of income to pay her. Luckily, I have been blessed with an attorney that is an advocate and has still defended me in spite of the fact that she has not received any payment since January 2012. But even she has to pay her electric bill, and I have no idea how long this will last.

After MSTBX left, I borrowed money from my mother (she also loaned me the $5,000.00 retainer fee for the attorney) and from my brother just to survive. I naively thought that it would all be over in a few months and I would be on my feet again.

Herein lies the problem; it is now this long and I am still not on my feet. I have gone through county aid, food stamps, welfare to work program, WIA funded 6 month re-education and upgrade my skills program and I have written more that 60 cover letters since July applying for work. I cannot find a job.

I know it is a bad economy, and just turning 60 years old (I had my son when I was 42) and having no discernable work record for the last 20 years does not help. And really can I let them contact my former employer??? I have been doing some volunteer jobs just to get references.

I did find a job at the local department store for Christmas help, but even they are only scheduling me for only 8 hours a week.

I feel like such a loser because I cannot financially sustain myself. I do get on occasion some court ordered spousal support, but that is not enough to sustain my son and me.  I could not manage the mortgage and expenses on that alone. In addition, even in spite of the fact that the support is court ordered, he ignores the order and payments are only sporadic.  There is lots of back child support owed and Child Support Services is a joke. CSS is only functional for the easy targets and not for those like MSTBX because he hides the money.

If only I could find a job and show income then I have a shot at keeping the house. There is money in an escrow account from a property that we sold. I could pay back the money that is owed for the mortgage and be reinstated. Yet again, another court appearance is required to get a hold of that money. Some of that money is even my personal money. I generated a paper trail to prove that it was mine before the marriage.

If only I could find a job, then I would not have to frantically run to the mailbox daily to see if there is a check in there.

If only I could find a job, then I could put all of this divorce stuff on the back-burner and just move on with my life.

And most of all, if only I could find a job then I could inspire my son to go forth and leave his room. He stays up all night. I hear his friends dropping by in the early hours of the morning. I know they are smoking pot. I gave up that fight a year ago, yelling and “boundaries” never helped. I know it is a self-medication thing, but as I keep telling him: it is time to end the pity party. I have been trying to be strong for the both of us, but now, it is becoming more obvious that my strength is failing. He spends his days sleeping while I try to spend my days at home working on the computer searching for jobs. My days are filled with filing out paperwork for the IRS (more stuff to deal with and too much to write about now) retrieving paperwork for the attorney, and so many other things that I have to deal with due to the problems that destitution incurs. The only thing my son sees is his mom just spending endless hours in front of the computer.

I am at a complete loss at where to turn. I only have a few friends and they are far away. I had few local ones. Many have lost interest because my situation is so perpetually bleak and has been for so long. I still get comments like; You still haven’t pulled it together yet? Why isn’t your divorce over yet? I can only shrug my shoulders and I can feel their frustration that my situation is still not resolved. So I just avoid them now. If I do run into them by chance, I just camouflage my despair and angst with optimism and strength. Besides, I really never could afford the cost of those coffees anyway.

I joined a weekly meditation group. Their basic philosophy is that we attract the good and bad in our life. So my joke is that I must be a masochist. I have not gone any further in describing the sordid details of my life. It is supposed to be a positive outlet. The only thing that I know is that when the lights go down for the meditation is that I burst into uncontrollable tears. I quietly cry through the entire meditation. I have started bringing a hidden hanky to wipe the tears. It is literally soaked by the time the meditation is over. I do not think anyone has noticed it, because I do this quietly and I am much too embarrassed to let anyone know. What is weird is that this is the only place that I cry. I have felt like crying for the last 2 years, but I never did. When I started with this group, just a few months ago, it just happened when the lights were dimmed. I do not understand it, but I do find some relief in it.

And, as for my mother and brother, still no contact. It is a can of worms that I am not ready to open. Yet I struggle with the no contact because I have a son. I cannot and would not deny him access to his father. And I cannot deny him access to his grandmother or uncle either. I can only be there to talk to him about their transgressions after he has personally experienced them. For me, I think I can still just roll with the punches except when they target my son. Then I go nuts. The holidays are coming and I do not want this to end up lasting 20 years like what happened to my other brother. He has since passed away and that is another long story. I understand my vulnerabilities, but in my heart, I cannot do “no contact”. I still cannot ignore the fact that both my mother and brother financially provided for me during the first year of this mess. It is all so complicated and I am still so confused.

If only I could find a job….