Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Double Life

Ok I'll explain my 2 lives, most adults have them. 
First is the home life, relaxed, feet up watching TV with a pizza, with partner stealing little bits and giving it to the giggling kids. No pressure. 

When kids with normal human parents are growing up, this is really the only life they know. 

Other life is the business meeting, with heightened awareness, still smiling and being polite, but standing your corner, showing solutions, bit of adrenalin, but everything you say is thought out and controlled and keep on smiling, maintain self control , never show weakness, never drop your guard.

Now, can you imagine throwing an 8 year old into a business meeting and demanding results. They'd crumble, wouldn't have a clue what was happening. That's what happens to victims of NM's , children and adults, because they don't realize it's actually a high awareness meeting, they are still in relax mode. Can you then imagine the stress on a young child to be under this pressure most of the waking day.  It's horrible and unnatural. Probably explains why there's so many bitter and angry victims writing and following these type blogs.

Dear Mother, it appears that you have removed my childhood, please arrange for it's prompt return  

Ok, back to the theory stuff I've just invented. Right, we both know that a Narc is never off duty, so move into important meeting mode when she's around. Keep that public face switched on, but never drop your guard, because hers is always up too. 

If enablers are around, they are the useful idiots, they really don't see things coming either, they just react when they're hit. Use them, I sometimes feel a bit bad, but I use my Dad like this against NM. Just humorous little digs at NM that he always laughs at.

My NM likes to educate so I use looks too, my favourite is 'you don't really know what you're talking about do you'. It's deniable and easily answered with 'no I'm just concentrating, it sounds really complicated.' 
And because Narcs are never beaten they will keep explaining, so the next response is , 'that's not what you said last time' . Time to bring in the useful idiots and get them to help. Creep BIL always jumps to her defence and gets angry and pompous. Now you've won, time to give that annoying knowing smile and quip, 'Just testing'

Last time back on a solo visit I spent an evening with NM's enabler best friends son. NM was trying to put me off so I knew it was a good idea. I used this to spread a bit of dissent about my mothers mental health, actually it was a riot, we laughed all night, but the points got across. Those clucking hens on the  cathedral committees are starting to worry that NM is getting forgetful and gets angry and flustered easily. I also implied incontinence, a great reputation killer. 

It's all a bit of mischief but I'd rather be watching TV with beer and pizza.


  1. "It's horrible and unnatural." Followed by-
    "That's probably why there's so many bitter and angry victims writing and following these type blogs."
    Ahh, could you please clarify this last statement? Could you please operationalize the concepts "bitter" and "angry?" Could you expand on "anger" and why this would NOT be a normal, entirely human response to "horrible" and "unnatural" treatment by NPs? To abuse?
    I know we loose a lot in this medium and I'm truly flummoxed by your statements here, Dave. I'm enjoying your blog but this left me thinking, HUH? IMO, AC Bloggers put a great deal of themselves, their experiences "Out Here" for the rest of us to share and hopefully benefit from as a result. It takes no small amount of time, effort, intelligence, courage and humility to produce a GOOD, coherent HONEST Blog. I'm grateful for ALL of them. I respect their honesty and personal integrity. I'm not attempting to pick at you at all, Dave but I've re-read this post a number of times (as well as your other posts) and I can't....grasp what you're saying here. Maybe you left out a modifier like "seems" in there somewhere?

  2. Hi Tundra

    I think that bitterness and anger is a perfectly natural response to having your childhood, even adult life spoiled as well.
    I reckon that I'm also surprised that Narcs are so widespread and the suffering of the victims is too.
    What I don't understand is where you think I've implied that it's not a natural human response. I did say Probably, not surprisingly.

    I've just read it again and I'm trying to say that horrible and unnatural treatment during childhood will probably bring about bitterness and anger later in life.

    I've looked at some of the blogs in this subject and some of them could be described like this. Some are extremely tragic, some people are screwed up for life, that makes me angry. Some are about current happenings, I'm getting angry again.

    How can I expand on anger?

    Tell you what, if you want to do a delete/ insert on those 2 sentences, give me a suggestion.

    Thanks T. I love debate. I also said that it's also a newly invented theory. I'm no expert. Just trying to figure things out.

  3. Oh no, Dave. Thanks for taking my observation in the spirit in which it was intended and for clarifying. As I said, it just seemed discordant with the rest of your Posts somehow and I do enjoy your Blog-and it IS yours, please do't change a thing. However, on THIS end you have an old widow with a swiss-cheese brain post a couple of strokes!
    Thanks again!

  4. (Please DON'T change a thing. sigh. See what I mean?!)

  5. TW and Dave, I found this an interesting commentary and had to add my two cents if you don't mind. I, too, was struck by this particular sentence. However, I have personally been attacked with these two words before in order to discredit my feelings. So, I concluded that maybe I was just being a bit too sensitive.
    I think of the two, it was the "bitter" statement that left me a bit cold. I've always felt to call someone bitter implied a bit of personality flaw but couldn't put my finger on it. So, being the egghead I can be, I looked the word up.
    Bitter: characterized by intense antagonism or hostility
    So, then I looked up hostility
    Hostility: hostile state or antagonism. Unfriendliness

    And while I agree, some bloggers are hostile and antagonistic (and have every right to be), I guess I felt like it was implying a bit that ACONs maybe are just sucking on sour grapes. Pouting in the corner. That maybe if we extended ourselves a bit, it would be better.

    Having read all of your blog, I don't believe this was your intent, but merely how I read it. Please don't change a thing, because I believe all of this discourse to be important, and I've said before , I think you provide an interesting and different vantage point for us all. And Tundra Woman, I've also enjoyed your comments and insight!

  6. Tundra Woman. I think you are trying to read far too deeply into what I wrote.

    I have no idea how to operationalize concepts or anything else for that matter. I don't know why I'm being asked to expand on the meaning of anger, its anger, everybody should know what it means, if you don't look it up in a dictionary.

    And can you explain this sentence 'However, on THIS end you have an old widow with a swiss-cheese brain post a couple of strokes!' This lost me completely. Please explain.


  7. Jessie

    Yes, Bitter is a word that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. And I suppose I am a feeling a bit like this at the moment. I've got an old mother is genuinely ill. And I actually do feel sorry for her, even sympathy, but she's making it really hard for everybody. Sucking us in, then pouncing. If NM only acted naturally, we'd come round. No chance. She thinks milking it will get more sympathy. So maybe that's making us bitter, and if that's a personality flaw we have, then we'e not perfect.

    There's always been 3 of us who got the worst of her venom, her SIL, her sister and me. I'm in contact with them both. She's got the flying monkeys jumping all over us.

    My old Aunty is taking a long long holiday with some distant cousin in Canada, and why not. Only I know how to get in touch, she made that clear.

    My other Aunt is over 70, staying at my cousins, he answers the phone, they live in Australia.

    And I'm running a business, getting blamed for not being in England. Maybe frustrated is a better word.

    1. Frustrated is a much better word. Exhausted. Bitter? I don't think so. I don't see a lot of hostility and aggression on your part towards your mom. I totally get with a mom like this she makes it so hard to actually feel sorry (console, support, etc) her. It's like a black hole and if you give an inch, she demands a mile. Maybe more like quick sand. And that leads me, personally, to feelings of guilt and shame that I can't be there for NM, can't include her, like there is some flaw in me. But I really don't believe that's true. It would be easy to blame myself as some callous bitch who has disregarded my mother. In fact, that is the script she plays in her head and for everyone to listen. But no matter what I do (I could bring down the moon for her) it would never be good enough. So frustrated. Hell yes. Toxic. Extremely. Poisonous. But I don't think you're bitter. You are frustrated. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  8. Dave, I've had a couple of strokes: What that means is I'm brain damaged.. Really! Our bodies-and especially our brains don't like it when there's something that blocks blood flow/oxygen to any area so the effected area "dies." Depending what area of the brain the "problem" occurred determines what kind of residual/lasting effects you'll have to deal with. The brain is a pretty nifty "self-repairing" organ so it takes about a year/18 months to truly determine how much and where the functioning problems will appear in terms of your daily life. By "swiss-cheese" brain what I mean is there's "holes" (like "black holes") where there use to be none. And I don't always know where those "holes" are until I try to do something/process/explain a concept-and it's just not there. So immediately post strokes I had the whole drooping side-of-the-face/side of the body thing going on. That came back pretty well except for some lingering numbness on one side. I lost all my vowels and my spelling still challenges my computer's "spell-check"-even now. Also, common terms like "kitchen counter"-GONE for the longest time, yet words like "teleological" were present and accounted for-real useful in daily life, no?!
    That's what I mean when I say we "loose a lot in this medium" (the computer) and you have this old brain-damaged widow on the other end reading your Blog. That's why if I don't know or understand, I ask. I don't entirely trust my "interpretation" and my ego just isn't so large that I'd rather ask the question/ask for clarification than sit here and wonder, "OK, what did I miss here? Am I reading/interpreting this correctly?"
    Thanks again-I appreciate your patience and questions too! And I hear ya about how they'll milk any malady to the max. Mine called me in the middle of the night when I was living hundreds of miles away to inform me she broke her little toe. Two days previously. Now, I KNOW broken toes hurt-I've had 'em too and there's nothing you can do but (maybe) tape 'em up with their "neighbor" and carry on. Mine acted as if I should grab the next flight to her "residence" and "care" for her as if her leg had been amputated. At 2AM when I had to get up at 5 for school and work. (It was shortly thereafter I got an unlisted number, told her I couldn't afford a phone because I was DONE with the DWI (Dialing-While-Insane) phone calls at all hours.) Oh, and she was an RN, BS.
    These NPs don't age gracefully AT ALL. IMO, they get WORSE with age.

  9. Hi Tundra
    I'm really sorry to hear about your strokes, they are dreadful. My gran had one and it affected her left arm and her speech, which she hated. I saw it firsthand, so I can easily imagine how terrible it must be for you. Nice to know that you are improving. I hope you have family or friends that are helping you through this.

    What I am happy about is that you're able to get involved and provoke a debate, really I am. Why shouldn't people be questioned? You and Me's not above it, so why should anybody else be?

    I have to admit that I'm just getting stuff off my chest, my theories about it all are just a way to try and figure it all out. I don't know if they are right or wrong, but they feel sort of right to me, and there are a lot of blogs out there telling very similar stories.

    I've even got doubts about telling my own story, I mean, I'm nobody special, just ordinary. I don't know about you, but if I'm in a bookshop, I always find the autobiographies a turn off. So I'm out on a limb here.

    You got phonecalls at 2AM? WAAAARGH!!! I can just imagine the reaction if you called her at 2AM the next day to see how her toes were doing.

  10. Yes, you ARE special! Ask your partner and kids! Just please keep putting it out here, Little One. It helps ALL of us.

  11. Yeah I know that's true, we're all special to each other. But the local church doesn't break into the Hallelujah Chorus when I strut gracefully through the doors and nobody throws rose petals at my feet when I take the dog for a walk. I'm quite happy that doesn't happen actually, not even in my dreams.
    But the bar did raise a cheer when partners Mother arrived to help out last night. It was packed and so was the restaurant, daughter had to help too, waiting on tables.
    Partners mother pointed out a small group of men chatting quietly at a table in the corner, it was 4 generations of the same family. And we had 2 table sleepers left at the end of the night. That's not allowed if you're sat at the bar, even keeping one eye open means a taxi getting called.

  12. You all are working in an incredibly demanding business: It's 24/7/365. I'm sure it's a real challenge to "carve out" Family Time. But from your Posts you do-which speaks volumes IMO to your ability to never loose sight of what really matters. And it's nice to have your "Regulars"-they speak to the quality of your place and it sounds like it has a nice, "homey" feel to it as well!

  13. Yeah, like me standing behind the bar, with lunch and my laptop. Daughter and Partner standing at the other side with lunch, then 10 minutes later they disappear. We do get real time together quite often. It's ok really and for some customers it's a 2nd home.

    Even NM has sat at the bar, I'm sure she hated it, she looked down at the bar flies who speak openly after a few beers. She had to share me with them. One guy she feared, he only drank coffee, played cards and was intellectual and very cynical. He's here now actually!!!

  14. I'm no longer bitter or angry, although some anger does come up under certain situations when my upbringing impedes my current life. I've been in therapy forever and I am much better, but I'd say I spent most of my life broken more than bitter or angry. Bitter and angry came about as I healed and realized I was no longer on high alert.

    BTW, being on high alert 24/7 as a kid actually changes the connections in your brain. Too much adrenaline messes with you in physical ways.

    I've also stopped feeling any sort of sympathy for my mother. Last year with her was a bad one for me. I gave our relationship my all, and it was an eye opening disaster. My parents were so horrible, it really set me free.

  15. Can I use one of your photos on my hub @HubPages?
    My account is travel_man1971 and my article is titled: Life 101 - Having a Double Life.
    Thank you in advance. :)

  16. I was perusing your blog trying to find out information regarding how my NM might have affected my brother (he was a bit of a GC) and came across this post which really hit home!! OMG!! ...your theory is absolutely correct - and, vicariousrising's comment about it wreaking havoc on your brain & body are spot on!!

    i'm currently in recovery from my overtaxed adrenals (commonly known as CFS) from a life of high alert, fight or flight responses. after years of my adrenals putting out all those unnatural amounts of adrenalin they became overtaxed and also began having unnaturally intense reactions to every tiny, tiny stressor. i also suffer from debilitating perfectionism, OCD, depression, BPD2, C-PTSD, and i hold my breath constantly and suffer from a huge assortment of chronic physical illnesses. your 'business meeting' description completely fits my childhood and most of my adult persona to a 't'.

    i have never really thought about my hyper-active, overachieving, keep it together - keep a smile on your face mode as being in a 'business meeting' all the time... but, it's just so darn accurate. i depended on approval from my teachers and began a long school career of straight A's, teacher's pet, extra credit... the whole thing. my entire self-worth was tied to my grades and the approval of any authority figure i could find. i lied about my age and began working at the age of 13 - at a grocery store check-out. i had a part-time job for the rest of my school years (another attempt at self-worth, independence, and autonomy from my NM) as well as getting straight A's and playing an instrument competitively in my free time... just thinking about it makes me exhausted.

    i was on OVERDRIVE and after graduating from college moved to DC to being a career in environmental conservation and ended up working in all sorts of non-profit jobs while waitressing part-time to make ends meet and burnt the candle at both ends in a variety of ways for over 10 years (sleeping an average of 4-5 hours a night) until i finally had the BIG nervous breakdown. i tried to be perfect... i tried living a life that wasn't me... i thought i could somehow make my parents love me but i was wrong. and, i didn't even find out about my NM or even began remembering my abusive childhood until i became COMPLETELY incapacitated by the 'business meeting' mode i had been in for 35 years.

    i can't even begin to list all of the chronic illnesses.... but, let's just say that being in this mode wreaks havoc on your body in such a major way. sooner or later that constant adrenal activity will mess with your HPA-axis.

    and, now... after 3 years working from home and working w/ therapists and naturopathic doctors on just trying to calm down... it's still very difficult. it's just so ingrained... and, there's just so much to process (through crying and body work.)

    all of this time and i'm still working to repair my adrenals... still working on pacing... still working on trying to relax and i still don't even know HOW to relax. i can still feel the neural connections and fight them everyday. i fight my NM every single day. i fight her beliefs that i am no good, unlovable and incapable every day of my life.

    i think your 'business meeting' description is a good accompaniment to dr. peter levine's explanation of the 'false self'... that person you become... the person your parents want you to be. after doing that for so long you really do lose yourself... you don't know what brings you joy... what brings you pleasure. and, in my case even *how* to experience pleasure.

  17. Dave
    Thanks for your blog. Relate to the 'child in the business meeting' image.
    I became a little adult as both parents were narcissists. I was forced into the adult role early on.
    I do relate to the anger and bitterness, though I try not to build a penthouse there.LOL. Seems to be coming to the surface more since my NM passed away in July. Narcissists are the most infuriating people to engage with. One of my golden child sisters(yes there are two) is a narcissist. I just want to choke the fuck out of her arrogant, condescending abusive ass sometimes. She is about eight years old emotionally. Oh well enough about me. I enjoy your posts.
    Going Low to No Contact with both of them shortly. Have had enough of trying to have relationships with narcissists. I'm done.