Good evening. I don’t know how your week is going, but mine has been harrowing with a 90% chance of persecution and 100% chance of marital strife. That is all behind me now, but if you ever wonder how you became so strong, so tough? The answer is God allowed you to become what you were always meant to be-and that is-tough as nails.
As a victim of Narcissistic Abuse, I can tell you there isn’t a “crazy” cell in my body, sanity wise that is. Narcissists use projection to drive you to your limits, both emotionally and physically. My case was no different, but the anger that permeates my very soul slips out now and again-last night it erupted. Here’s how it began~
“You have anger issues. I mean it, Michele, you need to work on your anger.”
After I put back the pieces (my head had spontaneously combusted) and calmed down enough to grab a drink, it happened again. I finally gave up and went to bed. Why was I angry? Let’s just say that addicts have a way of pushing everything unpleasant to the bottomless pit of despair. We make our gravest mistakes by believing that a bottle of gin or a bag of coke will allow us to forget; my personal experience attests to the fact that you cannot run from grief. Everything you ran from will only intensify. By the time you get good and sober? A mountain of lament lay at your feet, and before you deal with anything you must address the pain.
It is my belief that all addicts are running from something. In my case? Years and years of bullying, emotional abuse and neglect-I simply couldn’t handle the truth which was no one can hurt and manipulate like blood. I consider it a miracle I found my way to the truth of the matter. Narcissists are good at projection (take a look at the DNC) and what they try and pin on you is a mere reflection of the rot that lie inside their souls.
In my family, my narc would wonder out loud at the fact that I was telling the God’s honest truth, which made me feel untruthful. Fact was? She has lied about everything under the sun, but mostly about me. Despite frequent and persistent attacks and accusations, God led me to the reality that I was not mentally ill. I had PTSD because of my abuse, which led to depression and anxiety of the nightmare variety.
So, after getting into it with Dwain-he came home three hours early, whilst I was cleaning. For the life of him he couldn’t understand why after a day of sweaty drudgery I wasn’t greeting him at the door in crotch less panties and chocolate pasties.
There. I said it.
My point being? I know what it’s like to be labeled a mental case when I know with every cell of my being that I am, unfortunately, saner than sane. I spent so many years just trying to breathe that I took life as it was dealt-nothing left over to create, become or dream. And then I met Jesus.
Having run a Dementia Unit for years, and then my own home health care business-I have a pretty healthy awareness of this population. First, may I say that my parents died far too young to develop the disease, as did my grandparents with the exception of my father’s mother who lived well into her nineties and remained as sharp as a tack. However, I do know what it is like to have your family member treat you as a stranger. The crippling feeling that your beloved doesn’t see you, let alone remember you. The terrifying feeling that all of your memories, your cherished time together-they are lost to you-forever.
Years ago my father was in hospital for pancreatitis. A severe alcoholic, daddy went into delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal. He then slipped into a coma, my poor mother left alone to pay the bills and raise three children. Each and every day she would say, “You simply must go see your father. He’s your father.” I didn’t have the words to explain my terror, my flat out inability to see my best friend and biggest supporter hurting-in any way.
It turned out that my fears were nothing compared to what transpired with my first visit, after dad had come out of the coma. He was learning to walk, to say the ABC’s and speak again. His hair had gone white, he was terribly thin.
“Hello daddy, how are you feeling today? I’m so sorry I am only coming now…”
I was interrupted by his question: “Aren’t you the gal married to the Korean doctor?”
I explained that I was his daughter, his blood. I shared a few of our inside jokes, tried to get through to him in some way. His next words shook me core-
“I’m sorry, kiddo, I don’t know who you are.”
Would it help you to know that dementia patients are much happier in general? They live in the moment, no worries, no fear. I enjoyed my time with these brave men and women, so much so that when I had to retire due to Chronic Lyme? A piece of my heart went with the loss. I simply adored my residents and clients. I took each death personally, especially my favorite ever client, Marta.
Marta was my best friend’s mother. She alone inspired me spiritually, creatively and emotionally-I was the benefactor, I was the lucky one. We liked to go on outings, she loved the Llamas at a local farm-we visited often. You see, Marta loved her animals-to the point of hurting for them, just like me, just like her daughter. When with her I felt understood, truly loved for myself and nothing else.
One day I picked up a stuffed Llama at a local gift store. Now, Marta thought her stuffed animals were real. She had this really big teddy bear, and if I was talking when I entered the room, she would SHHH me-the teddy was napping, don’t wake him.
She loved the stuffed Llama, even took him to bed with her. I often saw her cooing to, and comforting the little brown toy. So innocent, so pure, so what I had been missing my entire life. Her last stage of the disease was spent in a nursing home. To this very day I wish I had visited her more. The news of her death stung like poison.
And so it was, after my brawl with my husband, did I enter my bedroom to see-and not for the first time-that little stuffed Llama named Marta, head to the side in sympathy. I hung my head and cried like a child.