Tears Dry On Their Own

 

I don’t understand, why do I stress the man? When there are  much greater things at hand?                                                                                 -Amy Winehouse

 

I had a bad hair day, and as I lick my wounds, I will do what I am wont to do when grief, of any kind, beckons. I turn to my writing, and process best I can.  I spent my former life running from anything “feeling.” As a result I suffer a backlog of grief.  I have worked through so much, the glory going to Jesus, who has shadowed my life, since childhood.  And of course, it was the Prince of Peace I turned to-after a hike and shower did nothing to shake the chill of a sadness I could not name.

I hadn’t felt this dull malaise in a long time.  The full moon always takes a toll on my psyche-I suffer a bizarre change of attitude at this time of the month, and it just happens to coincide with my period.  No, it’s not pretty-trust me!  I don’t relish having the temperament of Medusa on crack, but hey-who am I to question?

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I think we all have our codependency days.  Days when you’d be happy if your monster in law called you-just so you know you aren’t invisible.  This morning I checked my blog stats, and although I’m a big girl with a medium-thick skin?  Well, let’s just say I awoke to no texts, Facebook notifications, phone calls or fuck-yous.  As the morning went on, I had the unpleasant task of having to pick something up at my in laws home, conveniently located directly across the street.  Insert hair pulling here.

I spotted my monster, standing out on her front porch.  I told the dog to stay, and yelled my intentions, hoping she would hear me, so I wouldn’t have to knock on the door and go through the whole, sordid pretense.

OMG, WE HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN WEEKS, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY MOST RECENT PURCHASE, THIS DISH CLOTH-CLEARLY THE MOST SUPERIOR DISH CLOTH THIS SIDE OF THE PACOS, AND LOOK!  IT MATCHES MY COFFEE POT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Nah.  I’ll pass.

But something really weird happened.  She. ran. from. me.  I knew this to be true, because I have the moves of a full out ninja when it comes to avoiding my in laws.  I know all the tricks.  As I walked down the road, she walked faster.  I approached the front door, and knocked.

No answer.

She reappeared after I had returned to my home, picking weeds in a garden that is frozen solid.

Now, on good hair days this would not have phased me.  However, as the possibility of my invisibility grew, I was actually offended.

Later in the day, I phoned a girl friend to see if she’d be going to aerobics class.  She never returned my call.

These ridiculous nonissues prevailed the entire day.  I got good and quiet with God.

“What’s wrong with me, Abba?  Where is this over sensitivity coming from?  Where’s my self esteem?  Remind me of who I am in You.”

Tears dripped down my cheeks.  I knew this feeling only too well, although I hadn’t felt it in some time.  I have found myself in the midst of pain and confusion, as I wonder aloud why I had allowed it to happen.

My best friend is a narcissist.  I have known this for months, since the day she spat venom at 45 mph, into my voicemail.  Called me a liar, told me she’d tell the girls in class what I said about my in laws.  None of it made sense, but then again-I never listened to the entire voicemail.  After this incident, she begged me to forgive her-and that’s when I made my fatal mistake.

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I couldn’t put my finger on the sense of loss, anxiety and sense of impending doom.  I began tearing at my skin, stymied by my own inertia.  Recently, she was giving me the silent treatment-a well known, passive aggressive technique of the Jezebel.  They gaslight you into thinking it is you who’s the psychopath.  Narcissistic Injury-feel free to do your research in that department, if God forbid, you too are suffering.

I listened to the entire voicemail.

My skin crawled as I heard the vitriolic rage.

The moral of the story?  Go with your gut, especially if you have been the victim of Narcissistic Abuse.  There are resources online to help you understand the disease, the symptoms of CPTSD, and begin to heal the codependency that brought you to this place of utter despair.

Kill Jezebel.

 

 

Here’s the Rub…

This blog is killing two birds with one stone. In all of the hustle and bustle, I completely spaced New Music Thursdays! Not important in the grand scheme of things, but hearing Norah Jones through “new ears,” not once-but twice in one weekend initiated a foray into her unique, jazzy, vintage sound.

I had always linked this tune with roads untaken. As much as my addictions took years from my life-my social anxiety has robbed me of much, much more. I find it ironic that getting sober brought on a new list of phobias and nervous ticks – I pick at my skin when anxious, am completely incapable of dealing with any kind of stress, and would rather have a root canal than travel sans Jesse, my golden retriver. I am a germ phobe extraordinaire, a dog hypochondriac and feel uncomfortable (make that extremely uncomfortable) around people I do not know.

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What we regret in our lives is never as painful as chances, opportunities not taken. With Social Anxiety, you are forced to cancel plans depending upon just how strong you feel on that particular day. Interestingly enough, my nerves are their worst in the evening, which I attribute to the notion that I am not fully awake for the first four hours after rising. If you want to give me bad news, do so as the sun rises-with any luck? I won’t remember what you said by noon.

I was completely uninhibited as a child-thinking nothing of knocking on doors, asking the neighbors to bake me cookies. I had a sense of myself from very early on, and as a young girl, my father doted on my propensity to not take crap from any person, place or inanimate object. I learned quickly that pleasing dad meant everything. I yearned to make him proud, he was a nurturing father to me, despite many less than ideal situations; such as, my mother-who was pathologically jealous of our closeness. And herein lies the rub:

In your formative years, you have nothing but the reactions of others to mold and guide you in your very human quest to be loved, to fit in. When your own mother dislikes you? Well, let’s just say I was at an extreme disadvantage. Later in life, Satan’s Seed (aka, my sister)did not miss an opportunity to berate, humiliate or gaslight me-I sunk further into depression.

There is hope and I am here to say things are so much better on the other side of recovery from narcissistic abuse. You begin to see the very things the narc disliked about you (pure and total jealousy) are the very same things that others will love. I did my research, and once I felt I knew enough, I dug deep into the Word. A combination of incredible support from my husband and friends, a return to a creativity I thought had left me long before-and a deep faith in Jesus led me out of the muck and mire that is codependency.

I don’t care who you are, your opinion of me has much more to do with you than any other factor. I am no fence sitter-folks either love me or hate me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Be of good cheer, God is in control~

Pistols At Dawn

 

No, this is not a docudrama on the perils of standing on stage props, poor Marilyn Manson.  I loathe everything that man stands for, but I have to admit-the poor CD sales, his broken ankle on the first night of his Heaven Upside Down tour; then the attempt to climb a stage prop of two guns pointed in different directions which resulted in the whole works crushing him-well, that’s a shame, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.  I must admit I did chuckle at first, not that I am gloating, but man o’ day-what do you expect when Satan is the god you serve? It is my prayer that as he recuperates, he has a change of heart-but that’s another story and I am sidetracked.

We were up in the jaw dropping beauty of the Adirondack mountains, on lake Algonquin.  Prior to the trip, I was an anxious and traumatized mess: fake news of the September 23 Armageddon, the flea situation, the hurricanes, the fear of flying high and actually enjoying life for a change-all of this led to a reoccurrence of my PTSD symptoms.  In 25 years my husband and I had not had a “real” vacation together, and as we hit the state of New York, my nerves began to mellow, I was beginning to exhale and I cannot praise God enough for His part in getting us there.

Prior to leaving, we had ripped out carpet, vacuumed every crevice, and at 5:30 in the morning I sprayed the last of the flea killer, and closed up shop.  My “best friend” of twenty-five years was taking care of my only indoor cat, Maya Angelou.  She was to feed her in the evening-I had no problems trusting a grown woman, RN and administrator of a local veteran’s hospital-I left food and instructions on the table.  My in laws were right across the street.  What could possibly go wrong?  As it turned out?  Plenty.

On our third evening there, I turned on my cell phone.  I had planned to stay away from my phone, social media, news venues and the like.  I needed to heal, and I wanted to spare my husband the constant freak outs about the world in which we live.  For whatever reason, I felt a nudge to check to see if all was well in the state of Pennsylvania.  I was relaxed, happy and hadn’t self-harmed in days.  My body was repairing itself, and I looked forward to the next leg of our journey.  We were to spread dad’s ashes on Lake Pleasant, hike Auger Falls, dine in a lovely five star restaurant, and I hadn’t seen Dwain so happy in ages.

The text read-‘Hi sweetheart.  Just wanted you to know that I was over to feed Maya this morning (what?  My father in law was assigned the mornings, why was she even there on a Sunday morning?) and I was wearing white pants.  I was covered in fleas.   Is there anything you would like me to do?’

Holy mother Mary, mother of Jesus, and Joseph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She went on to say that the only room she had been in was the kitchen.  I text her back immediately, telling her to please turn on the air conditioner, asking if she wouldn’t mind setting off a bomb or two DOWNSTAIRS, as Maya the cat stays in the bedroom.  The very reason we hadn’t set off anything upstairs.  I phoned her and left a message, telling her where the vacuum cleaner was, and also reassuring her that I would make this up to her.

In less than the five minutes it took me to do this, my blood pressure sky high, my mellow harshed-I became hysterical-worried about the cat, my friend, the house………it was like being shot from a cannon, and I immediately regressed and began tearing at my skin, bawling like a child, inconsolable.  My husband was livid.  Why?  Why would she text me this news?  How could she be so cruel?  Was she not capable of figuring this out on her own.  And then it hit me.  THERE WERE NO FLEAS IN THE KITCHEN.  I KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE ONLY ROOMS THAT THE DOG AND CAT WERE COMFORTABLE IN.   There was nary a flea in my abode when we left for New York. My husband took me in his arms, shush honey, it’s okay, I’ll call my father, we will get through this, shhhush baby…….he was in touch with his dad immediately, and Tom was to set off a bomb in the kitchen.  Relief warmed my muscles, the blood returned to my face.

I phoned my brother and told him I would call him when we returned.  I wanted him to know that I was turning said phone off and would not even look at it until our return.  When we were unpacking, the phone must have fallen out of my purse, and there it remained for three days.  I had bought my “friend” a lovely gift for tending to my feline.  I flicked on my phone to call her to see if she was home, but was immediately stopped dead in my tracks.  She had left three voicemails and a text.  She had called each night of our stay, and then left another text:

“If you EVER get around to checking your messages, there are still a number of fleas in the kitchen.  THANK YOU.”

Appalled, I thought back to the many times I had given her the benefit of the doubt when she belittled me.  Because of low self esteem I had clung to her advice, and many times I felt her to be intentionally cruel and callous.  One Summer I had given her a pair of earrings.  I took great care in picking them out, lovely avocado halves, expensive but worth it.  Days went by and I finally called her to ask if she liked the gift:

“Please give them to one of your nieces.  I will put them on the porch.”

Many, many times I had asked myself if it were possible that she was a narcissist.  That is not a term I use lightly, and I pushed the thoughts out of my head immediately.  I thought back to the day I called her, the day my sister sent me the email that would end our relationship.  I had told my sister my feelings, for the first time in, well, ever.  I was hysterical, crushed at the idea of losing my blood, my world upside down, I cried out to her.

“You fucked up Michele.  You fucked up.”  The harder I cried in protest, the louder and meaner her words.

Jesus has taken the scales off of my peepers.  I have learned that highly sensitive and empathetic, albeit broken people are subject to being surrounded by the Jezebel Spirit.  But I am stronger and wiser now.  She is a part of my past, and there will be no confrontation, because at the end of the day, that is exactly what she wants.

Green Are Your Eyes…………

My brother came up for a visit a few weeks ago, and as we conversed he brought up the wedding that my father spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on.

“They were devastated,” he told me, dead seriously at that.  Craig lived in California at the time.  My mother was battling ovarian cancer, although she, nor the doctors, knew.  I remember one phone call from mom, in which she told me daddy had cried for days-and to this very day I wish I had run away……because I didn’t have the strength to stop the snow ball that kept rolling, gaining momentum, until it was so big it crushed me in its wake.

I did not choose this particular war.  It chose us, Dwain and myself.  I was in such angst that my mother sent my sister to baby sit, rather than sit down and discuss my strong resistance to a wedding that never, ever should have taken place.  In a therapy session, with my parents, the man with all the answers (he thought so anyway) asked my mother why she was so angry.

“The fucking whore just wanted a party.”

The therapist looked at me and then at my father.  When I looked back at him his glasses were askew and he appeared alarmed-distressed, if you will.  I had warned him.  I knew it was coming.   My father, always and forever my best friend and supporter, offered this:

“Honey, he said, looking at my mother as if she’d lost her mind-“Why don’t you let us get you an apartment, just be by yourself for awhile so you can figure things out.”

I couldn’t and didn’t consider that option.  I loathe the fact that I hurt my parents in any capacity whatsoever.   It breaks me and was a contributing factor in my rush to oblivion, alcohol, pills, cocaine………..my heart was a ball of fire, and I wept more than I smiled.

But, green were his eyes…….and their melodic and hypnotizing pull are evident this very day.  And for that, oh for that I am incredibly blessed.

Mean Old Mrs. Jones

If I had known you could play the license plate, well, shit howdy I would have signed up for it!!! I adore these two, and it was with wild relief that I came upon this song. The song going through my head?The Beautiful People, unfortunately, I loathe Marilyn Manson, and will never, ever use him in a blog. Weirdo.

Oh my, not sounding like the Christian I am supposed to be today, eh? No, quite the contrary: I could punch a stink bug. Not proud of my blog yesterday-when I lost my integrity and called out my family. Here’s the thing-the magnanimous thing to do would be to not write of them; however, this is my personal property, as much as they hate the fact that I have something to call my very own. If people don’t like you writing about them, well, maybe they shouldn’t have behaved so poorly in the first place. For reasons I only half know? I love them still. Yet they are toxicity itself when it comes to my sanity, but that doesn’t mean I hate them. Sadly, I almost wish I could.

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I forced myself to go to Bands today. Down and isolating, I haven’t been out of the house except to go to church, in the past two weeks. I promised my friend I’d send out a care package, she’s having a hard time of it lately-my tiny town’s post office is open but two hours a day, and I hit it wrong each and every time. It bothers me, and I mean BOTHERS me, when I don’t follow through on my promises. Lately, it’s almost as if there is a silent force, keeping me back, holding me from moving forward. I don’t force anything, because at this stage in recovery, I am way too fragile.
I remain my worst enemy, and can’t catch a break with myself.
My issues begin when I know I must follow through-I literally make myself sick with dread.

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This isn’t what the blog was supposed to be today. I wanted to write about recovery from narcissistic abuse-and the changes you go through while in recovery. We need to do the hard work necessary to change our hearts, motivations and boundaries. Most of us with CPTSD never had boundaries to begin with; and another commonality is that we trusted, with our very lives, people who tore us to shreds, took us for granted or simply weren’t in to the friendship/relationship as seriously as we were.

The changes our personalities go through are shocking to those around us.
They expect you to assume the position, take whatever they’re dishing out, look the other way when they break promise after promise after promise. No. No. NO!

Today is my eleventh anniversary-I have been sober (with the exception of a few slips)for this many years. Yes, sobriety changed my character, faith and friendships. Yes, there were adjustments to make, along with changing my behavior I found I simply could not inhabit the places I had, prior to quitting drugging and drinking. “Friends” stopped calling-the change in our lifestyle was drastic, daunting and downright depressing; but you will find your attitude about that changes too. The past is where it should be, some good and some putrid memories were made. I have stories (oh, believe me I’ll tell them one day)upon stories of drunken faux pas. The one that immediately comes to mind is this:

I had gone out with the girls on a Saturday afternoon. We were to go on a scavenger hunt and each clue was offered at bars around the area. By the fourth clue, my friends had dropped me off at home because I was sloppy drunk-I suppose I passed out directly. When I awoke, I was disoriented and wild-where the Harry was my husband? It was 8 o’clock in the morning!!!! (NO, it wasn’t. It was 8 p.m. and I had lost an entire day. Convinced he had been out all night cheating on me, I went into a rage. I did not remember this, but trust me, Dwain surely did. The story goes like this: my in-laws were entertaining folks from their church, in the quaint little gazebo they erected across the street from our home. We had lived in this house, directly across the road from Dwain’s parents, for ten years. Although things are better, I did not get along well with them. They disliked me from the very beginning. I must have been dwelling on these thoughts when I stripped down to my flesh, went out on our roof, and screamed this:

“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT THE NEIGHBORS THINK!!!!!!!!”

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For years I carried the shame of my addiction. I allowed people to walk all over me, so codependent that almost every one of my friends took it for granted that no matter what, I would forgive and forget. I figure it this way-bullies don’t like it when the underdog comes alive, sticks up for herself and demands to be treated with dignity and respect.

My family didn’t like it, my former friends were not pleased, hell, my dog even noticed-what had happened to the doormat who allowed herself to be treated so poorly?

She doesn’t exist. There’s a new kid in town. She’s kicking ass and taking names, so don’t get in her way.

Risky Business

I am about to write about a trauma in my life that almost killed me, and sometimes? Well, on the rare occasion, when I am in the fetal position, in gripping despair? I wish it had.

I have never written about this subject matter. No, I wasn’t ready, willing or prepared to throw my family under the bus. How have things changed? God has given me the courage to bare my soul-and I firmly believe that secrets make us sick.

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The picture above has never been touched-no photo shop, no tricks. It is a picture I took after the Holy Spirit nudged me to step outside and take a picture. All I could see was mist and rain. The camera lens saw more, much, much more. When I brought my Walmart special up to my eyes, I could see them, at least seven-beings of white light attached to white crosses. It hasn’t happened since, but that it occurred at all? This, my dear friends, was a miracle.

This may take some time, and I’ll be honest-it will be much longer than my usual blog, as this story is a part of who I am, who God has molded me to be, and what the faith of the tiniest mustard seed can do.

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Back in 2003, my father was laying in a local ICU, his kidneys failing-his leg, after several surgeries-amputated up to the knee. My husband and I had been taking care of him, since the Spring. Dad had many diabetes related health issues, and the stress of meeting his needs was a growing concern. After finding the Meals on Wheels woman on his front porch (he hadn’t picked up the phone, but used to his ways, I had been determined to get some cleaning done) then subsequently finding daddy in a diabetic coma, his peritoneal dialysis machine screaming in protest; he had blood running from the corner of his mouth, and his moaning was guttural, raw.

Don’t leave me daddy, don’t you leave like this.

The EMTs had arrived, and so had my husband and his best friend. I was out of my mind with worry and grief. I blamed myself. I went after the chubby Paramedic who moved so slowly, I thought my father would perish before she made it to the bedroom. My husband had to pull me off of her; I am not proud of my behavior, but like I said, I had become unhinged and knew that each moment that passed was not in his favor.

We stood outside in the lawn, as they worked on my father in the ambulance. He was revived and taken to the hospital. I got on the phone, called my siblings.

“No more. Please, I am begging you,” I cried to my sister. “Daddy needs to be in a nursing home.”

And so it was that we found my father a room in a skilled nursing facility. Most evenings I would get a call that the nurses couldn’t figure out my father’s equipment, even after I had given a demonstration, twice. I would run over to the home, in my pajamas more times than not, and restore the dialysis machinery. One day, while visiting, my father fell in the hallway. I jumped up from my seat in the dining room, flipped off my heels, and ran towards him as if his life depended on it-turns out the nurses were nowhere to be found, and that was the first “incident.” He was still much safer at StoneRidge, and I had spoken with the home’s director about keeping him there. My siblings went behind my back and spoke to the director as well. Only they insisted that my father was absolutely FINE and could go home whenever he was ready.

I blame them for his death, which happened two days, TWO DAYS, after his release from the nursing facility they claimed he did not need. But it got much worse. Although I was daddy’s POA, they hastily planned his cremation and funeral the next day-at my niece’s birthday party. I was beyond hurt; I was incredulous.

“That’s what dad wanted,” my brother stuttered. NO. In the almost year that I cared for him (in a house up the road, as we could not afford an addition-and dad couldn’t do our steep, farmhouse stairs) nothing was ever said about cremation.

A week after his passing, I received a phone call from my sister, explaining that she and my brother had planned an estate sale, that they would be selling our precious family heirlooms. I did not attend that circus, and my husband spent thirty-eight dollars on a painting I had done in first grade, just so I would have that memory. During that phone call, I was accused of “stealing” my father’s money: over a sixty eight dollar grocery bill.

At the end of the day they had robbed me of everything I held dear. My father, who had lost his home to the IRS after losing his paper company, had very little money-and I wanted no part of it. To this day I believe that the money was the issue that drove them to cremate my father.

The moral of this story?

Love. Love passionately and fully, never taking for granted your beloveds.

Time is too precious. Love too rare.

Insane Like Me

Narc Abuse…I write about it often, but as it turns out, I am far from the only expert in this cozy little town. As a peace offering, my friend Sheila asked to take me to lunch yesterday: I had a gift for her as well, a gorgeous, porcelain angel who looks down on a mother and her son. Sheila lost her son to a motor cycle accident two years ago; her only child, it has forever changed her direction and focus in this physical realm. I knew this about her, yes. What I didn’t know was the extent of abuse she had experienced as a child-at the hands of an evil and narcissistic mother.

I thought I owned victimhood: as it turns out, Sheila’s story is so much darker and poignant than mine. Her mother beat her father within an inch of his life one Summer afternoon before Justin’s accident. As my friend was dropping by to visit, she walked into a scene so paralyzing, well, I am surprised she had the strength to revisit the pain. Her mother had taken a lipstick and scissor to her own wedding photos, as her father lay in a bruised and broken heap on the floor.

“I am calling for help, daddy,” she screamed, hysterical and in shock.

“IF YOU PICK UP THAT PHONE, I WILL KILL YOUR FATHER.”

Sheila rushed outside, called Crises Intervention, had her mother institutionalized. After ensuring her father was receiving good care at the local VA hospital, she went to sign papers at the psych facility that whisked her mother away, against her will-in the middle of the night, straight jacket et al.

I have known this tender hearted soul for twenty years. She has driven me batshit crazy in seven different languages: with her low self esteem and suffocating neediness. Recently, an argument over something trivial and her psychotic response led me to believe there was no hope, no hope whatsoever for our friendship. God had other plans, and for this I am hesitant, but willing to forge ahead.

You are not alone, you are surrounded by victims of perps that were family-the absolute worst kind of betrayal. You won’t see these people screaming from the rooftops of pain and remorse. No, you will find them loving others, the encouragers and empaths, clinging to Christ-in the churches, schools and hometowns of America. You couldn’t possibly know their stories-how could you?

Love others as you would want to be loved.

Something wicked this way comes.

We need one another, desperately.