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.

Silence is Not Always Golden.

I have sources that I am not willing to divulge now regarding some of the things that my X is doing. The reason that I cannot just “move on” regarding his life is because I am always looking for information to dispute the many lies that my X is attempting regarding our divorce.

One of the things that I have been hearing from one of my sources about is that my X has been disparaging the new girlfriend behind her back for a while now. They only moved in together the beginning of this year, at least, that is when they made it official.

Not soon after that, his complaints had already started.

I actually do feel kind of sorry for her, because I also know from other sources that she is completely oblivious to it. I feel that he makes sure of that by still playing the romantic game to her.

She moved to Hawaii in the beginning of October.  She is apparently under the impression that she is setting up the nest for the someday pending divorce.  I had gotten word through my attorney that my X wanted to settle quickly in September but neither my attorney nor I have heard anything since.

I have also heard that he is celebrating that the girlfriend is gone and his expression is “good riddance”.

But who knows how that will pan out. I know my X likes to keep all of his options open.

I was a very difficult and demanding girlfriend in the start. I did this on purpose. My intent was to show my worst. I even refused to move to Hawaii with him. Everybody thought I was crazy to miss out on such an exotic opportunity.  Lucky for me that I was not interested back then. I cannot even imagine how much more isolated I would have felt being on an island!  Somehow not conceding to his wishes seemed to keep our relationship running better than when I let all my defenses down and started to be nice and considerate.

So some people’s first impression of me was that I was the “undeserving girlfriend”

Our courtship lasted for a few years. It was first a long distance relationship and eventually we moved in together. Back then he was still on his very best behavior.

He always acted as though he was so proud of me and who I was. He would brag to anyone who would listen to him about me. I cannot tell you how many times his proud words about me came back to me.

Everyone who met him said that he could not stop talking about me. They all loved him and they thought I was so lucky to find someone who appreciated me so much.

Things did not start to change until after we were married and it was gradual. We had a few decent years in the beginning. Who knows how decent they actually were? After all, emotional abuse was a more familiar feeling to me than it was to most people. It was how I grew up. The basic red flags for a normal person would be considered normal behavior to me.

There were still lots of gifts, lots of time together going out, trips, flowers, romantic letters and gestures of love and passion. So it all looked good on the outside. Everyone was amazed at what a thoughtful and loving husband I had.

I was definitely swept up in the romance and trying to maintain that “special bond”.  At least that was what everyone was telling me that I had.  Now I understand that I have an abnormally high tolerance to chaotic relationships and I had very little sense of my own self.

Everybody thought he was such a great guy. What would I know? I was the person that could not even get along with my own mother.  So many years I endured the acceptance that I was the difficult person. That is what I was taught growing up.

My X was the talkative charismatic type and I was the quiet reserved type. I was never a believer of airing my dirty laundry to other people. I felt that it was something that I needed to deal with my husband.

My silence worked against me, because I thought I was keeping our matters private. I did not think it was right to disparage my husband to others. I realize now that my X thought otherwise and aired his version of our “dirty laundry” to anyone that listened. He was the victim that was being taken horrible advantage of. I was the nasty, undeserving, “never happy” wife.

I remembered that I had always felt that friends and acquaintances looked at me with suspicion. There was always a feeling gnawing in my gut that something was askew, but that feeling was always over-ridden by my feelings that I was “less than”.

I believed that I was unable to get along with anyone.  The only time that I remember when I was happy was when I lived on my own.

My self- image and propensity to keep to myself was the perfect storm for my X to play the victim to our mutual friends and family. I see now that my X probably garnered lots of sympathy from mutual friends and family that I was a difficult wife. So many people were more drawn to him.

I had always felt a distance to most of our mutual friends. But feeling distant to people was not an unfamiliar feeling to me. I still thought it was just me, I was different. Now I think I realize why many of those treated me with suspicion.

God only knows when his stories started. I look back now and I feel that this may have been going on for most of our relationship. I have come to this conclusion now, especially since I hear how he is treating the new girlfriend.

He always loved looking like the hero/ martyr.

Maybe this explains the indifference that I felt from many of our mutual friends. Some of them were outwardly cruel to me. There were times that some of their treatment of me brought me to tears. I was bullied.

I was also bullied as a child. I remember attempting to go to my mother for comfort. In her anger she had told me it was my fault.  She told me that I deserved it because of the kind of person I was and what I looked like. My mother was embarrassed of me and the negative attention that I garnered.

I had no one to turn to.

So during my entire childhood, I endured all the tauntings and bullying  on my own, in silence. I was too ashamed to tell anyone.  Eventually the bullying stopped and I started to make friends as I grew older. Looking back, I seem to remember that time that the bullying subsided, correlated with my rebellion against my mother.  Coincidence? IDK

So when the adult bullying came, I just thought that I deserved it. When I confided in my X about how hurt I was about specific incidences that occurred, he defended his friends instead of me. It was a familiar response to things that only hurt me. I just kept the pain to myself.

I am even crying now at this pain. At least now I am getting it out.

I am no longer silent.

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.