Lard

I don’t know but I just needed to get this out. I know it is a diversion from my therapy that all of you guys are helping me through, but this just annoys me.

I come from a family that always took its food seriously. We all cook mostly from scratch. And don’t ask me why, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to invite a bunch of people over to celebrate Thanksgiving.

It is the anniversary of the day that my life took a new turn. Thanksgiving 2011 was the day that my then husband had returned from his extended “business trip” to share the holiday with the family.  He was all sweet and charming to everyone and even made a huge elaborate drunken thank you speech about his amazing wife  (me) and how he would not be where he was if it were not for me. Later after everyone left, I got the real news.

So now I have invited way too many people, none who can cook to share this holiday. Hopefully there is safety in numbers. Last year was a disaster because I just broke down in tears crying. It was just my son and one of his friends.

I make pies from scratch. I like to use lard. Most years I have gotten it mailed to me from a farm in Pennsylvania (I live in California!). This year I did not get anything like that together. So I went out here in my health conscious environment to look for some lard to make some incredibly flaky pie crusts.

I live in the land of chicken sausage and turkey bacon. So when I asked for lard, I got a confused look as to what was I talking about. Then when they finally understood what I was requesting, you should see the looks of disgust that I have gotten. I finally got irritated and looked at the butcher and said that it was way easier to buy heroin in this town than it is to buy lard. And it is more socially acceptable.

I know about the heroin transactions because I used to park outside a McDonlad’s so I could piggy back on the wifi location. It was scary the transactions that I witnessed in that parking lot. This is not a slum area and it was less than a block from that Whole Foods where I got the disgusted look from the butcher.

So I know there are clinical studies etc. to say otherwise, but my mother (the Narc I write about) is 96, still drives and looks like she is maybe 75 years old. She grew up on pork fat. She told me stories about how before refrigeration, pickled meat was stored in the cool areas of the basement in crocks of lard. Meat was just scooped out of there and fried up with some veggies and potatoes.

And pie crusts were always made of lard.

I am a big fan of Dr. Mercola. He says that there are 3 types of people who live on this planet. The first group should only eat chicken and fish, little fat and endless carbs. The second group is the most common group who should eat a Mediterranean diet which is equal portions of everything. Then there is the third group and they should be eating lots of rich fat, meat, veggies and little to no carbs. I think I am somewhere in between  group 2 and 3.

I really do not adhere to this, but it gave me permission to take the plunge and eat fat. Now I eat less, I am satisfied and I never have hunger pangs or cravings. I even lost a little weight, but nothing to speak of.

I know that a lot of you may not agree with me, but it does work for me. I read this on the HuffPo.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/28/cooking-with-lard-baking_n_5212804.html

Look at the comments. Hostility.

Everybody loves to talk about how they think diversity is important. What about diversity of thought and eating habits? Do we have to wait until someone we love to get on TV and give us permission?

I have been eating coconut oil for more than 20 years. I have always loved and craved it from the time that I spent living in SE Asia.  I could only buy it at a certain health food store for years. Same looks of disgust when I would ask for that. Now everybody can’t eat enough of the stuff.

Anybody still eat margarine?

Cigarette smoking is another one. I love when people feign coughing when someone dares to smoke within 20 feet of them and then they go smoke their vape pen. Smelling that gives me a headache.

I really don’t smoke, I had one cigarette last year, but I do not think that someone “is less than” because they smoke cigarettes. And why is it ok to shame cigarette smokers and be ok with people that smoke pot all of the time?

I still have an ashtray in my house, I am not sure if you can even buy them anymore in this state. But I keep it for those that drop by and want to imbibe.  I do still make them go outside, but I live in Southern California. It is never that cold.

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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….

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.

Running Away From The Narcissist

Actually, I never did run away. There were many times I did try, but always the “I love you” and “We can get through this” lines were what drug me back.  I chose to ignore my personal pain for the “greater good”.  We had a son and I always knew that if I left, my son would never know his father. Most of the time, he was not much of a father, but I could still see the adoration in my son’s eyes for him. And luckily, there were occasions when he actually acted like a father. Now I wonder if I did the right thing, only time will tell.

Just about 6 months short of our 20th anniversary, my now Someday to be X told me he no longer wanted to be married.

We had a business actually he still has the business, he just kicked me out of it. Anyway, there was a lot of business back East and he traveled there often but eventually, It became glaringly obvious that it was way more often than necessary. He started to leave with golf clubs and nice clothes. We live on the West coast. I had remembered asking him only a few months previously if he was “disrespecting our marriage” (I always watched my language with him to prevent him playing victim to my “accusations”) I thought I was generously giving him an easy way to open the conversation of the obvious demise of our marriage. Of course, at that time, he vehemently denied everything as he always did. In my heart, I already knew, but like a fool, I accepted his words. He proceeded to tell me how much I meant to him, he really needed me in the business and “how could I ever think of something like that?”

I just let it all go. I did not argue. I just accepted what he said.  Besides, for a long time now, in this so-called marriage I was already so numb. The many years of treading on eggshells, emotional/financial abuse and neglect while trying to do the right thing had taken it’s toll on me physically and mentally.

Believe me, I understand that I am lucky he did this. I have even considered that someday I should write the new girlfriend a thank you letter for releasing me from this horrible prison.

I decided to start this blog for my own therapeutic catharsis. I know there are other blogs about divorce and relationships with Narcissists. I have read many of those horror stories too. I thought my story was a little different so I am starting this new one. I don’t know if anyone will ever read this. I just want to put my voice out there, even if it is only for me to hear.