Tag Archives: narcissism

The In Laws

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My kids come back home today
and they tell me
(Insert Husband’s Mistress’s name here)
is going with us to Utah in July!
I’m flattened.
In a state of shock.
I think I might have gasped.
My daughter asks
Are you jealous, Mom?
And I answer
No, not jealous…I’m…I’m…surprised.
I text him a litany of curse words
to make any sailor proud.
Then I text his Mormon mother,
my (still) mother in law,
the woman I called Mom for seven years.
Are you okay with them
sharing a bed in your home
when we are still married?
I don’t want my children exposed
to their adulterous behavior.
She answers back,
That’s never allowed in my house.
But talk to him. Not me.  That’s it.
Then I text his dad and his stepmom.
Neither one of them answers.
No surprise there.
I mean, after seven good years of marriage
and still together after eight,
what’s one daughter in law
down the drain?
I guess I’m disposable to them
Just like I was to him.
Luckily there was a CoDA meeting tonight.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 21: To Narcissus (With Video!)

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What a timely and fitting prompt from NaPoWriMo today!  The invitation is to play with the myth of Narcissus in some way. I’ve always loved Greek mythology, and the tale of Narcissus alway struck me as sad—dying of unrequited love of self.  But now that my husband is out of the house and I’ve had time to really consider the effects on my mind, body and spirit of living eight years with my husband’s pathological narcissim, the tale has become a lot more personal.  Before I realized the nature of our relationship and how damaging his words and actions were to me and my self-esteem in the course of our marriage, I always thought narcissists were annoyingly self-absorbed people whom we love anyway, because everyone deserves love, and we all exhibit degrees of narcissism now and again.  It’s human nature, isn’t it, after all, to become periodically fixated on one’s self, one’s happiness, one’s life path, and the ways and means we go about achieving what we think we need to be fulfilled?  But then I learned about narcissistic abuse—gaslighting, smear campaigns, isolation, criticism, financial abuse, and it came crashing down on me what I had endured during our time together, always trying to help him be happy, always being told that I was the source of his unhappiness.  I realize that I’ve been traumatized by my time with this man, and I internalized a lot of what he told me.  I’m in the process of unpacking the stories and sifting through my inner landscape to find some ground and some truth about myself. Yes, today’s prompt is timely.  Here goes.

*************
Poor boy, you fell so deeply in love
with what you believed to be true about yourself,
you wasted away into a dream and died.
The one I thought I knew was a phantom,
haunting the pool that claimed your life.
I tried to save you but you were already dead,
and as real as you seemed, you were just an apparition,
a poltergeist, making lots of noise, breaking things,
howling like a ghoul, frightening me,
recruiting me into this fantasy of living
as you drew me nearer and nearer
to your realm of death.
You nearly took me too,
so invested was I in resurrecting you
that I began to deny my very Self
and all of her needs.
But the spring came, and with it my own resurrection.
I saw my spirit come to life and resist the chains
you attempted to throw around me.
They were just a mirage, like the rest of you;
loud, messy, impressive,
but without any weight or strength,
substanceless, like your love, like your life,
like your work, like all of you.
Rest in peace, fair Narcissus.
I’m going back to the realm of the living now.
I’ll visit you each spring,
lay a flower on your grave,
pay my respects,
but know this:
You cannot hurt me any more.
You are nothing to me now.
Nothing more
than the whispers of wind
that caress my cheek,
reminding me of the long life I have left to live.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 20: Divine Rebel

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Today’s prompt asks us to incorporate the theme of rebellion into our poem. Okey dokey!

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It was spring of 2017
and I was experiencing
the most generative period of my life
in terms of my art, writing, music, teaching,
and visioning.
My spiritual practices were taking me to new heights,
and I grew excited thinking
about the adventures to come.
I had struck such a good balance
of work, mothering, marriage, and self time
that I weaned myself off antidepressants.
A week after I was completely off my meds,
he dropped the bomb.
I’m done.  We’re just not good together.
I’ll always be grateful for the children.
You can’t change my mind.
As I attempted to make sense of his choice,
I realized that he simply couldn’t handle
the woman I was,
and the woman I was becoming.
He told me I wrote too much,
meditated too much,
made too much jun and kombucha.
I sewed too much,
knitted too much,
made too much art,
wasted my time
in frivolous pursuits.
In essence, I was too much,
and the things I did
made him uncomfortable.
He wanted me to shrink.
To stop making art,
to stop writing.
He wanted me to stuff myself
into the role of perfect housewife,
keep the house clean,
the floors scrubbed,
meals made.
Luckily for me,
my parents raised me
to know who I am
and to honor the voice inside,
the One Who Knows the Truth.
She rose up in my defense.
She refused to let me be put down.
She said, Go girl!  Make your art!
Write your words!
Sew!
Knit!
Run to the woods!
Be wild and free!
I listened to her.
I stayed true to myself.
This divorce has been one hell of a rocky ride,
and it continues to push me to the last edge of sanity.
I have moments of doubt and fear.
I still grieve the loss of my husband,
our closeness, our friendship
(or what I thought was friendship anyway).
BUT…
One thing is for sure:
this world would be a far less interesting place
if I hadn’t let the Divine Rebel
save my soul.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 15: Narcissus in the Spring

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Today we were invited to take a villain and humanize them.  Check out the prompt here. I have my villain.  If you’ve been following me you know who it is without trying too hard.

******************
He left us.
Left our marriage,
our family.
Left our children
to pursue another.
He lied.
Lied to me,
his family,
our friends,
created a camp,
started a war.
When I could sense the truth in my body,
he gaslighted me, told me I was crazy.
And now he wants my help.
How can I say no?
I met him nine years ago this month;
we were married eight years in November,
and the love doesn’t stop
even when he betrays the sanctity of our union.
He’s in pain.
He hurts and he doesn’t know the cause.
He wanted this transition to be the medicine
he’s been craving for two years now.
But the sorry sap doesn’t see his own folly.
If he can’t take ownership of his role
in our relationship
or any relationship for that matter,
he’ll be doomed forever,
caught in the endless cycle
of perceived victimhood,
looking outside of himself for the answers
that can only come from deep within.
No matter.
By the time all of this catches up to him
I’l be gone.
I’ve watched the narcissus blossom in the spring.
Anything could happen.

Mine Alone

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Sitting here wondering why.
I managed to find a safe space within myself
and then he pulls the rug out again.
And now I’m falling again,
and the floor opens up,
and the earth opens up,
and I fall clear to the other side
into space.
And I’m free falling again.
When will the ground hold?
When will my safe space
extend to a place outside of myself,
a space where he can’t bother me,
a space that’s mine
and mine alone?

Look Deeper

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I subbed a yoga class this evening.
I went into the ladies room
before I taught
and nearly ran into a woman
changing
right in front of a full length mirror.
I wondered why,
with all of the benches around,
was she changing right there,
staring at herself in the mirror…
This young woman ended up
in my class.
She was quiet and graceful;
I wondered if she was plagued
by the same body dissatisfaction
that is sold to us by our
body obsessed culture…
or maybe does she love her body??
After my class
I nearly ran into yet another woman
changing
right in front of the same mirror.
This one exclaimed
“SHIT! I forgot my pants!”
She was not as quiet
and maybe not as graceful.
I keep thinking about these two,
wondering about how we learn
to be preoccupied with our appearance,
obsessed with our reflection,
needing to see ourselves doing
the simplest things.
Maybe this is why
I often ask my students to close their eyes.
You don’t need to see to breathe.
Sometimes what we see outside
is such a distraction
that we have no attention left
for what’s inside.
Why stare at yourself
as you change one shell for another?
Could we learn to look a little deeper?