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.

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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.

Boiling A Frog

I remember reading once that if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and very gradually, turn up the heat the frog will not notice and will just stay there and boil to death.

The theory is that a frog will just continually try to acclimatize to the heat. Because it is only a gradual temperature increase, it will not perceive the danger and just allow itself to be cooked death.

I am not here to say that this is factual but I cannot think of a greater metaphor to what happened to me.

When I first met him, he was the sweetest and most sincere (or so he seemed) man you could ever imagine. All my friends loved him. I of course was on my guard. I never trusted men.

I spent my entire 20’s in short-term relationships.  Sometimes, I think that is what my allure was to men. I enjoyed life and saw no reason to pursue anything serious. From my own personal experiences, I never saw marriage and family in a positive light. I felt women never flourished in marriage. I chose to pursue other things in life, like travel, and that I did. However, after a while that got boring too. So somewhere, after I turned 30, I finally got serious. My first serious relationship was a disaster, but after a year of that dysfunction, I had enough sense to pack up and leave.

So when I met him, I was on my guard and boy did I test him. I was demanding and aloof and still he pursued me. The details of our meeting are too complex to go into now. I just want to state, I was not pursuing him. Eventually my barriers were broken down and we got engaged and then married. We lived together in those blissful days of a new relationship.

He always talked about me in such an admiring way. He put me on a pedestal and even my friends joked that he treated me like a goddess. Never in my life, had I been treated so well. He was too good to be true (!).

As our marriage progressed, and I got pregnant, things slowly changed and his attentiveness started to disappear. I kept thinking that I could fix this and I took responsibility for my faults. As the years passed and our son grew, the attentiveness eventually morphed into neglect and emotional abuse.

For whatever reason, I thought it was important to keep the family together. So everyday I just struggled to maintain harmony in our family. That simple feat consumed me so much for so many years that I evolved into a broken spirit. I was boiling to my death. I did not have enough sense or will to jump out of that boiling pot of water.

I never realized how much I missed his tone of admiration for me. That realization came to me when I finally heard him talking that way again. It dug up memories that I had buried so long ago. Only this time he was not using my name, he was using hers.

I knew then in my heart what was going on. But you have to understand that in spite of what I knew in my heart, I was deceived and played to an unconscionable degree by him. It was not until irrefutable proof was literally put before me, I got perfect clarity.

That clarity awoke my spirit and gave me the sense to jump out of that boiling pot of water, stand up, and fight.  I got an attorney.

Since then, it has been a long and arduous struggle. At least I did not die in that pot of water and I am alive now to fight another day.