Friday, September 30, 2011

And my direct superior is a psychopath!

Apparently. I'm slowly discovering a whole network of her seemingly unnecessary lies and attempted manipulations. All directed against me, for some reason. Weird stuff. I'll bore you with the details later.

I had worked with her for two years before and only noticed she wasn't very friendly, but was very ambitious and didn't seem to like our students very much. Now I have the knowledge to notice other stuff, and hopefully deal with some of it too. At least work on not taking it personally and not seeing it as a reflection of my actual work and worth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Evil Strategy

That's right. I've devised an Evil Strategy. It's my first ever.

If my father asks why I haven't humored him and sent him the photos he requested although I've already said "no" to him, here's what I'll say:

"Oh! You were serious? It sounded like a joke."

This is not a lie. And it's not a justification. It's showing him how he's coming across. If someone sends you a total of 17 photos as a result of your constant pestering and then says "I don't know what else to send you," it's only logical that your "Send me all you've got" reads as a joke.

I guess I started thinking about Deborah's suggestion that I behave like his own narcissistic mother would, and that caused a paradigm shift in my thinking. Suddenly, the question occurred to me: "Why does it always have to be me on the defensive? Justifying myself? Thinking of ways to prove I'm not being mean? Is it absolutely forbidden to put HIM on the defensive if he deserves it by behaving in a clearly abnormal way? It might actually not be forbidden. Wow."

Am I evil?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There is no "no" in Narcissese...

... is there? The photo situation is not resolved and I was gonna ask you how I can translate the "no"s I've expressed to him into language he can understand... but it's impossible.

There is no "no" in Narcissese. When they want something, they won't understand politely phrased "no"s. They'll refuse to.

After another, more polite request for photos, after which my husband remembered we had a few other pics we could send, I sent him three relatively lame photos, one of which didn't even include us - it was a landscape.

Now he texted me, asking for MORE.

I said "I don't know what else to send you. I'm not like you, I don't take hundreds of pictures every month."

Was that a "no"? Or did I hallucinate? I thought that meant "no" - I'm not sending any more photos.

His response?

"Then send me all you've got, even if it's only 10 photos."

Google has a suggested search "telling a narcissist no" which I used. The search, however, yields no actual practical advice.

The question exists. The answer doesn't.

Do you have one for me?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Tiger Inside the House

I had a very vivid dream this morning which I knew had a connection with Kiki's brilliant grizzly bear post even while I was having it.

In the dream, there was a killer, man-eating tiger already in my home. As long as we fed him what he wanted and let him play with us the way he wanted, the worst we'd end up with were a few scratches and tiny bites. And we lived in constant fear that we'd piss him off and he would just rip us to shreds. I wanted him out of my home but there didn't seem to be a way to do that without seriously jeopardizing our very lives. There was just nothing I could do except humor the gigantic, frightening tiger. There was no rational way out.

I didn't tell anyone about my dream.

Today we all went to the store and I told my daughter she could choose one small toy. She picked a tiger. A tiny, puny, fragile-looking toy tiger made in China.

The moral of the story? I don't have a clue. It's just one of those coincidences you can't make up.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've been very busy lately doing a simultaneous/consecutive interpreting gig at a seminar. I leave home at 8AM and come back around 6PM and have very little free time and am tired when I do, which is why I haven't been writing here regularly. You understand, don't you?

See, my father refuses to. He intentionally and maliciously refuses to. Because he wants photos from our seaside vacation! Several days ago, he asked for our photos. I have a feeling that having our photos is a control/ownership issue for him, but there's not enough rational reasoning to not let him have any at all, so I sent him 9 photos.

Then he asked for more in an email, saying he was so lonely and missed us so much. The next day, he texted me with the same request. I replied that I'm not even at home and that I'm working all day, every day. He then wrote to request that my husband send him more photos, just so he could see our dear faces during his lonely days. This nauseated me, but I sent two more. Then another sickeningly sweet plea for photos came. Now I waited a little, and then sent two obviously bad photos, hoping he'd understand the message - this is basically all you're getting, and I'm just barely being polite now.

Our Internet package means sending just one photo takes several minutes during which time you can't surf. So, it's a real time commitment. Also, but I didn't tell him this, there are pictures I'm simply not giving him. I sent him official, posed family shots, which I don't mind sharing with anyone. I'm not sending the really cute, real ones of my kids. 

Then I received yet another email today! He's sure we're very busy. But surely we could find time to send him more! And he's certain we have more pictures than we sent him!

How pushy can you be? How can't you get that enough's enough?

My husband says this is now just insane behavior and I should just ignore him. I'm kind of scared to just ignore him, because I know that will piss him off more than anything. I don't want to justify not sending any more, either, because I don't have an obligation to share our photos with him. I'm considering sending him a photo of our car or the view from our balcony, but it might be too much tongue-in-cheek, especially since he'll probably see the photos eventually.

Suggestions? How does one communicate to a narcissist that enough's enough without being rude?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Savior/Martyr False Self

There are things about me that are fake; there are those that are here as a result of conditioning; there are those I developed as my rebellion against the conditioning.

Many of them are relatively harmless. Some are kind of dear to me, and, as long as I acknowledge that this is not uncompromisingly my innermost self, I can let myself indulge in them (like sometimes wanting to be one of the boys, drinking beer out of the bottle in the park, having a little general rebellious streak).

But one thing that really stood out to me in the story, the unhealthy thing, the thing that forever connects my false self with the tyrant, necessitating their joint death as the only way out, is the savior/martyr complex. The main character in my story so obviously has it that it hurts me to realize it. She's thrilled to have someone to protect. Her life has meaning. Then she's ready to suffer torture and death for him at the hands of the man who wants him dead. And not only that. In the process, in the first version of the ending which disgusted me, she never objects. She never raises her voice. She never tries to defend herself. Not because she's really compliant. Far from it. No, it's because doing any of that would be like weakness or immorality. 

In other versions, I let her get raving mad, kick him in the balls, take his gun, all sorts of stuff. But it feels wrong to her to do anything violent to him, or even speak up against him to the cops, and then survive, it's unlike her, makes her somehow unclean. The last time she does it, they both die. He shoots her straight through the heart, which just goes all numb (like in my dream - I'm choosing to reinterpret it as the voluntary death of my false self now), and the young man hidden behind the heavy bookcase manages to tip it over and it crashes on the killer's head.

She has sometimes done good for others, when I was a student representative and fought the good fight. Stuff like that. But she does bad stuff, too.

She exists, it seems, only to be a savior and a martyr, and without a tyrant, she doesn't feel alive, she's just depressed and cynical. She invents tyrants where there are none. She finds the same dynamic everywhere, even where it doesn't exist, and then the savior becomes the sanctimonious judge of those with power who's overly lenient to those without it, and the martyr becomes the whiner.

She's not evil. But she keeps me seeking out abuse from my father or anyone else and interpreting it as this big battle against evil in which she will be the moral victor by silently enduring everything and never even being impolite. And the abuser will just tire of the abuse because he's not getting the desired result, the expected reaction. And he'll move on, frustrated. He's physically stronger and has all the power, so all she can do is shut off and endure it all sullenly and not give him the satisfaction of witnessing any reaction in her.

This may have been a decent survival strategy when I was a child, but now it no longer serves its purpose.

Christians here, please answer this: have you identified with Christ and the martyrs when feeling good & strong by taking stuff silently? Better and stronger than the abusers? I know feeling better and stronger than others is not exactly a Christian sentiment, but, well, maybe some of you know what I mean.

I don't, on the other hand, really identify with all that love and forgiveness for one's tormentors. Just the idea of being stronger by silently enduring and never showing you're suffering. That's not Christian at all, I fully realize.

But somehow, for me, it got blended with my general ideology.

How does one get rid of that? And what does one do instead and still feel good about oneself?

The moral of the story

The story I wrote had only one ending that worked - the one in which both the Tyrant and the False Self die. And they do have to both die to make me healthy, although the False Self is the main character. They feed each other, they make each other possible in my psyche. The Tyrant is not really my father - he is an internalized version of my father, an inner figure of censorship and destruction, much more dangerous and powerful and violent than the man ever was. The False Self is not really me. She needs to go. And only in that case does the hidden and threatened Inner Child have the chance to have the freedom to grow and develop into something that could be me.