Thursday, April 18, 2013

Good to remember?

I have realized that it is really difficult for me to do anything ONLY for myself, when there is no 'useful' side-effect, or someone else's added joy, but only my own joy or happiness. It feels like going against everything I think is sane or healthy. It's like sticking your hand in fire, while all your body and mind is screaming inside at you, not to do it.

DB has been great at taking care of me while I was ill. The turning point came when I had to prepare medication and other things to help - for myself, on my own. I have somehow managed to do it, because I convinced myself that it is useful if I get better, because then I can continue my work, my projects, and moreover, help others better.

My therapist got me thinking about what would happen if I was to do something for me - that has no health benefits, or helping-others-benefits, that resulted in nothing else but me feeling happy for a moment or two.

To be honest, it feels repulsive. Or disgusting. I have the need, or the desire to feel good, to do things for myself, but I don't know how to forgive myself for that (if this makes any sense).

My therapist also asked me if I liked simple, easily available joys, like watching trees, or having a bubble bath. Now, the latter triggered the hell out of me. It brought back a memory when I tried to make a bubble bath for myself while I was still living with my FOO and was a teen. I put candles around the tub, made some tea and everything was really relaxing and cool. Until NM realized what I was doing. She told me it was like I was lying on my catafalque, and that it was not 'advisable' for me to do it ever again because I could have burned something anyway (note, it was a bathroom. The candles were next to the tub, the only thing they could burn was the water in the tub, or the tiles).

After this event (and also before it, anyway) my bath times were controlled and supervised, even when I was in my twenties. There was no lock on the door, and I had to call for her when I had a bath, to wash my back. If I didn't, she came anyway, but I could not predict when. Or whether she came at all. I had no chance to relax, or even to enjoy the water. I hated being touched. I had to listen to endless speeches about how ugly I looked, with detailed descriptions.

I feel disgusted of myself when I'm writing this.

My therapist referred to this invasion of my private space and my body as what any person would call it. I can't get myself to write down that word now. But that was when I felt the air freeze around me and I started sobbing, while pictures started to try to invade my conscious mind. Detached memory fragments that I can't really make anything out of, and I have tried my hardest not to let them surface. I feel panic and disgust.

Until now, I was confident that it was good for me to put together the bits and pieces. Now, I'm not so sure anymore. The last thing I want now is to remember anything in connection with those memory fragment flashes, I've experienced.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coffee with a spoonful of honesty

I've had my coffee with EF.

Sorry if I will be rambling incoherently.

I was asked about the locks. I said the truth: that they did not work. He did not want to dig into the subject any further.

We talked about NM and that I was not willing to see her more frequently. EF claimed that he did not understand the whys. I asked him whether he felt he could handle my honesty and stay open-minded, because we both know he has a history of walling up inside when being confronted or hearing something that did not fit his view of the world.

He said yes, and I have tried to be as honest to him as possible, while staying in an adult state, focused, calm, loving, warm, firm and persistent. I have managed to stay this way until he left.

He claimed that he believed me, and that I was honest with him, but he did not know anything about all of this. He acted as if I was talking about my repeated encounters with UFOs, but he also tried really hard to be open. What I sensed was that he, for the first time in my life, believed me, despite that he had a completely different reality from mine. I assured him that I loved him and loved talking to him, but I stated that I was intent on focusing on my life, my relationship and my healing, and that being in touch with NM constantly is not an option for me anymore.

His only question was a bit frightened, confused, and completely clueless 'what the hell can I do now with all this?' And he answered it with a 'It seems that there is nothing that I can do'. The 'this' referred to NM and her attitude, behavior and all the related results.

I told him that being a narc is like being an addict, only worse. The first step is admitting that there is a problem, realizing that said problem has overgrown her, and that she needs professional help. I also told him that unlike being an addict, being a narc is mostly incurable (he knows that), and that therapists specialized in treating narcs are really really rare in our region, if not completely nonexistent.

He was completely puzzled when I told him about my life and experiences with NM (well, it wasn't much, you can't really explain narcissism and a lifetime of gaslighting, emotional incest and suffering in a few hours), repeatedly stating that he knew absolutely nothing about all this, although he admitted that he perceived some of my memories as his own, claiming that 'I also disagreed with her actions at that time'.

I told him that he might not have known these on a conscious level - knowing his history of escaping inside his head when anything confrontational happened, but that I also knew that he was enabling NM's actions by not protecting me, or leaving me alone with her. I also told him that the reason why he rarely witnessed anything was that she has always been extremely careful to ensure that she was alone with me when she abused me. That this was the whole point.

He told me how strongly NM wanted not to become like NGM. That she did everything she could to avoid that. I told him that doing the exact opposite of a certain kind of abuse leaded to an equal amount of abuse of a different, but similarly unbearable (or worse) kind. That I considered this tragic, but that this does not change the fact that she should have sought professional help and spend years in therapy before even thinking about having a child.

He left with acting accepting and believing towards me. I also sensed he was sad.

Since I have managed to stay in my adult state, I have also experienced his own blackouts. They were vaguely visible for the naked eye, but I was consciously searching for clues when he would wall up or feel an irresistible desire to run away. I have counted at least three instances: gazing into the distance with dreamy, unfocused eyes for blackouts, and becoming wide-eyed and extremely twitchy when feeling the desire to run.

He claimed that he is now not getting all the abuse that I got (which I tend to believe), but I also think that he does not consciously realize that he is being abused.

I reassured him that there are several people who know what is going on, and that they care about him and me.

He told me one thing about the lock incident: that when NM barged in, neither me, nor DB said hello to her, and that this impoliteness and rudeness made her cry for a whole day. That she was devastated. He also added that he was standing too far from her to hear what was or was not going on (conveniently out of the blast range, I added in my head).

When he left, and I stayed there for a while to pay the bill and gather my thoughts, I had a few really bad moments that included the thoughts of:
  • I was killing my father. He would die in a heart attack because I was honest with him.
  • I am crazy. The whole thing I told him never was and is not real. I was misinterpreting reality that was that I had a good and loving mother. I was overreacting.
  • That now my lies, overreacting and crazyness were killing my father.
  • That on my way home, I will certainly meet NM and she will abuse the living soul out of me.
  • That I was stupid because I forgot to tell him the most important part: the engulfing, all-consuming, suffocating, you-must-not-have-your-own-identity, love-equals-no-boundaries part. And that because of my miscommunication he will not understand anything. That despite all my efforts, I have failed miserably.

I'm more or less over these now. I have talked to DB who has confirmed my memory that we both said hello to NM. He also reassured me that I was not the crazy one and that this is again one more proof to that. I love that he sees what I see. That he sees gaslighting for what it is.

I am proud of myself for staying in an adult state, for being open and honest, for realizing some more truths. Also for not having high hopes for EF to believe me completely, or for anything to change in my FOO. The change is in me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Changing locks

I've changed the locks. Of course, my NM and EF just happened to wander around the time I have made it done. NM knocked in and shouted HELLOOO. I bet there will be 'consequences'. They will demand answers and stuff.

I'm so happy with my new locks. I love them. Yay.

Another story from the past weekend (when the books-stuff happened). First, EF cancelled our lunch, sending me a text saying that 'Your mom is gone. I'm cancelling all programs today.' I've called him to ask wtf, he said that she was simply gone, he did not want to talk to anyone. I instantly knew what this was about, but also knew that this was no way over, and we did not receive the 'gift' of not having to visit for Easter.

This was a very theatrical move. NM felt she was not getting enough attention, so she turned into a hysterical diva and stormed out. She has done this before (EF did not remember this, but oh, I do). My guess is, she thought we would visit them for lunch (and not talk to EF), EF would have had to admit that she was gone, we would have all felt guilty and maybe also corner EF for what he must have done to poor NM, or maybe we would have been cornered also, DB would have been there as an outsider witness to tell me and EF how awful we were behaving towards NM, and then she would have come back and we would have been groveling on our knees begging for forgiveness, so that she could trample over all three of us.

LOL. This did not turn out the way she planned.

I told DB that they now will have three options and she will definitely choose one. Either NM will arrive exactly after we have had lunch on our own and demand our visit. Or she would call in the evening to invite us for dinner and behave as nothing had ever happened. Or wait until DB was gone, and bombard me with text messages demanding me to visit without DB.

She chose all three options. She arrived back at noon (I have heard their door lock), invited us cheerfully for dinner (where the book incident happened), and then bombarded me with text messages to visit them for breakfast every weekday after that.

EF called me yesterday with the 'We need to talk' speech. I told him that I will be available for him, in a coffee house, on Wednesday.

I'm considering this as an opportunity for practicing my new skills of resisting NM's demands and EF's suffering and puppy eyes and trying to act as an authoritarian father.

I don't feel fear. What I suppose the topics will be are my new locks, that I do not visit frequently enough, and my general selfishness, me being unloving, inconsiderate, ingrate, and me destroying our family, and they nevertheless missing me and loving me.

I wish I could tell him that though I like talking to him about science, arts, or the-meaning-of-life, I have no respect for him. That I see him as nothing more but NM's puppet. That I know he never hesitated sacrificing me for saving himself from NM's wrath. That their marriage is their own responsibility and I'm not dealing with it anymore. That their emotional state is also their own responsibility. That my responsibility is my own life and nothing else. That I decide who I spend my time with, and as I can handle situations when people I care about decide to no longer be a part of my life, they can also do that, or get professional help. I wish he would not wall up inside the moment I start being honest. I wish he would really hear me.

I know that I have tried a million times. I know, this has failed a million times. So honesty and being open does not work. But I am not willing to keep up a false facade that is not true either. If I play his game by saying 'I'm not discussing this right now' over and over again will not get me anywhere either.

I don't feel fear. I feel a sort of sadness. And I feel stuck. I have stopped wanting them as parent figures in my life. I have realized that it is not and never have been possible. (I guess it is also unwise to tell him this). I just feel the human need of laying down foundations.

I don't even know what my question is.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Two books - one book

I had a book once, from a scholar I really respect. It was a quite rare book, only one edition, with a unique dark blue cover.

I have lost that book (another story), and was very sad.

EF remembered the book, and how I missed it (it was partly his responsibility that I could not get that book back). So I received it as a present for Christmas, it was the same dark blue edition, but he had the author sign it for me. I was very happy. I showed it to DB, and also the author's signature.

We visited my FOO to have breakfast together and celebrate Easter. I was surprised to find a friend of my family there, it was unusual to see someone 'not family' visiting them during the holidays. But I was sort of happy because I was pretty sure that NM would try to act nice as long as anyone else sees her. DB and me got a book as a present for Easter. My book was a book from the scholar I respect. With a unique dark blue cover, signed by the author, for me.

Due to my conditioning, my first reaction was not to show any reaction and to hide that they did something weird or nasty (especially if what they did harmed me in any way). Especially because someone else was also there, their friend. So when they repeatedly asked whether I was happy, I said I was and I tried to act surprised. Even when at home, DB mentioned that he remembers me having something of that 'book series' already, and asked me to search for the other book, I told him that I did not want to look for it right now rather than admitting that something was going on.

I could only manage to tell him after a day has passed, that something was really weird and that I thought I got the same book as a present - twice in a row. (I still consider this as a progress, that I have managed to tell this to him, and not to cover for my FOO).

I asked DB whether I was completely crazy or he also remembered me getting the exact same book earlier as a present. He remembered.

I have checked whether I somehow got two identical books. Nope. No other dark blue book on the shelves.

I don't remember lending them the book I got earlier (that does not really mean anything, I tend to forget things easily, but I don't think I would have given this to them. I value it too much. However, I still have to consider the possibility that I could have 'forgot', the way I sometimes dissociate and 'black out' when NM is mentally torturing me).
  1. I wonder whether one of them used the keys they have to my apartment and took the book.
  2. Or I completely forgot lending them the book, and then they were either that senile to give the same book as a present to me in 4 months' time,
  3. Or they really don't give a damn that much, which is basically the same for me
  4. Or they are gaslighting the cr*p out of me (back to option #1)

Nevertheless, I have called the locksmiths, and I'm getting a new lock on my door.