Saturday, 29 September 2012

Instant Denial

by Quercus

This is the most head-wrecking thing my parents do. I am loathe to even write about it, lest some lurking narcissistic troll decides to try this on their 'wayward kid'.

But I am positively losing my sanity to this, and I have to get it out.

"Instant Denial" is what I call the tactic. Here's how it currently plays out in my life, through EF:

After going "Low-Contact" and painfully explaining to EF in email, phone calls and text messages (links to NPD websites attached) why I'm doing what I'm doing, he seemingly 'forgot' the whole conversations a day or two later. Buddy went from 'understanding' but 'not agreeing' with my viewpoint (fine - I'll take that), to stating "I cannot relate to your grudge-holding" a few days later.

This even drives my 'normal' husband batty. We painstakingly put in a gargantuan effort to try to get EF to comprehend, even a little, my view on the subject. We thought it stuck, at least insofar as he was aware of my feelings and thoughts, and then there he is in the next sentence thinking that I'm holding a grudge about one incident in the distant past - NOT the continual mistreatment of me by NM today!!!

As frustrating as that was (and is), what's happening now is even worse.

My "Low-Contact", as I have oft mentioned, is being challenged in every way they know how.

They show up at my home. They show up at my workplace. This, alone, is enough to ruin my week and push me that much closer to a restraining order (or at least threatening them with one).

Then, the texts and emails.

"I'm in your neighbourhood. Let's do lunch."

No. I told you, time and time again, I need 3 week's notice AND I may still say no, depending on my needs. You haven't even given me a day's notice, f*ck off.

Followed by a text three hours later,

"We're going for dinner on the 12th. We'd like you to come too."

No. We've been through this. I said I needed space. I will let you know when I'm ready to see you, not the other way around.

Fight ensues (I remind EF of NPD and my reasons. I stick to my guns. Sometimes he says, "Fine. Okay, I get it. I'll give you space." Other times the conversation goes silent.).

Next week - "I'm at reception at your work."

Refusal, boundaries kept. Reminder of last week, responded to with complete denial. "There was no understanding". "What are you talking about?!". "I have no idea what you're talking about!!" Or, "You are just holding a grudge against your NM! You're being a b*tch!".

Good, maybe he won't speak to this 'b*tch' for a year!

Two days later, "I know this is short notice, but we'd like to see you for brunch Saturday."

(QG loses her mind at this point!).

See, here's the problem - I can keep saying "No," but it is so hard for me (so hard!). It's hard on me. And they won't give up.

They are trying to wear me down. And I'm already worn down after a lifetime of this b*llsh*t they refer to as "family". I can't handle it.

Do they know? Do they know that five more dinner invites and I'll kill myself? It's like they know! Are they trying to destroy me once and for all? Make my mind shatter into a million pieces I can't put back together?

I guess it doesn't matter what they're going for. It isn't the actions of a loving set of parents, that's for sure.

So here's my plan: my last message was pretty short ("No - I need space.").

I'm not replying to another message for a month. I don't care who died, I don't care that NM's apartment burnt to the ground, I don't care if suddenly I mysteriously inherited a million dollars from some unknown uncle. I'm challenging you, o 'universe', to chuck at me what you will - I won't give in.

The reason why I keep responding to their missives is that if I don't, they show up at my workplace crying or making a scene (which is a big debacle - a headache, and a problem for my career). I want to avoid that.

Maybe the only option is to notify security and get them to keep my parents out.

I feel so utterly trapped.

Are my responses, however short and unemotive, providing them Narcissistic Supply? They must.

October 29th. I'm not replying to a single text, email or phone call until October 29th. They can pull every trick in the book, but I'm not going for it.

Ironically, they're not doing anything for their case - a moment of Narcissistic Supply to them means that much more resolve for me to cut them completely, once and for all, out of my life. The whole family, cousins and all. (One day, I'll say, "Goodbye. May you revel in your own filth happily until the end of your lives. I'm gone!").

Will gladly take any other advice, dear ACoNs. I was exaggerating when I said I'd kill myself, but seriously - I really am at the end of my rope.

(Ozzy said it all best in "Crazy Train"):

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love
And forget how to hate

Mental wounds not healing
Life's a bitter shame
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train

I've listened to preachers
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train

I know that things are going wrong for me
You gotta listen to my words

Heirs of a cold war
That's what we've become
Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I'm living with something' that just isn't fair

Mental wounds not healing
Who and what's to blame
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train

Friday, 28 September 2012

WANTED: Your Recommended Reads!

by Quercus, as suggested by the lovely Jessie!

The ACoN's Library: What's on your bookshelf?

Let's get all the book recommendations out there in one place (thank you to Jessie and Kara for this suggestion!) for easy reference for ACoNs confused by the multitude of self-help books available!

I'd like to suggest the following categories:

NON-FICTION - Self-help or Biography/Historical/Scientific

FICTION - loosely related to NPD or otherwise; if it strikes an ACoN chord, recommend it!

Any book that you really feel 'speaks' to the ACoN in you, we'd love to share it with The ACoN Society at large! It would be helpful to know the following about your recommended reads:

The basic "theme" or subject of the book
Why you liked it!

For example, Quercus recommends:

Narcissistic Predicaments: A Biblical Guide to Navigating the Schemes, Snares, and No-Win Situations Unique to Abusive Families
Sister Renee Pittelli
NON-FICTION Self-help: Adult Children of Abusive Families
It's a practical book describing likely scenarios with your NParents at different stages (No-Contact day one to ten years later and beyond), as experienced by the author and other ACoNs she works with. It's not preachy, and it actually had practical, useful advice, clearly given. Great if you have "Christian" concerns about defending yourself/walking away from your parents. Mentions the 'grandchild' dilemmas and issues, too. I feel safer having this book on my shelf as a reference for when the weird stuff happens!

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
NON-FICTION Self-help: Parenting
This book was recommended by a couple of other ACoNs for parenting your children the "right way", rather than risking making the same grievous errors your NParents made with you (don't want history to repeat at the expense of an innocent baby!). I don't have kids and probably won't for some time, but I benefited from this book myself - it made me see how my parents SHOULD HAVE spoken to me, and really helped to make me understand both their dysfunction and why it hurt me so (book is great for examples - "if you say this, your child will hear this and will come to believe that."). There's a reason this book has been reprinted again and again since 1980! An easy read, and a fantastic reference.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
Alice Miller
NON-FICTION Psychology
Probably the most important book for ACoNs everywhere (and their psychologists). Alice Miller was pivotal in the development of modern psychology in the abused-child realm. The title is misleading, though - the "gifted" child isn't necessarily an academic or talented, but refers to the self-sufficiency required to have survived a horrendous childhood through to adulthood. This book discusses narcissism, even narcissism in the therapists who seek to help. It's an amazing read, but not a light one. It made me cry, and it was also challenging to me - I had to re-read parts to really take in what the brilliant Alice Miller was asserting. This book has the brainy answers to the core questions all ACoNs have.

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
FICTION: Science-Fiction (like Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four")
I mentioned this in a previous post - it's not explicitly about maternal or paternal narcissism, but there are themes that resonated with me as an ACoN. It's about totalitarian rule in the United States in the future, where a false-Christianity has taken over and oppressed the poor to gross extremes. Fertility rates have fallen so sharply that the wealthy 'own' fertile women as slaves. The sex scenes and the birth scenes are haunting in an ACoN way. The lives of the handmaids are horrendous, and suicide and executions are common. There's something about the way the handmaids whisper together, though often caught and executed, to form forbidden friendships; and the way the power of the 'wives' and 'husbands' over the handmaids and others is abused that screams "NParent" to me. A desperate, perverted, soul-wrecking situation with no escape.... Very dark, very spooky, and very entertaining!

Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
FICTION: Children's 
I've been planning an enormous post on this book for years. Other people have commented on the ACoN-esque themes before, but I fully intend to catch them all and expand on them! Until that time, enjoy a story where a young child is too big, too small, never the right size, seen as a threat, seen as a servant, pushed, pulled, lied to, controlled by a narcissistic Queen and an enabling King, and finally realises that in the end, they're nothing more than playing cards...! The ridiculousness of the situations, the futility of the games and pursuits - it really is synonymous with living with narcissistic parents (a world where the rules change constantly and where poor Alice is uninvited, attacked, welcomed then attacked, mistaken for a monster, a serpent, a servant, all while claiming, "I'm just a little girl!").

So . . . what are your book recommendations? Please post (comment) below, or email acon(DOT)anon(AT)gmail(DOT)com with the book(s) you feel fellow ACoNs would enjoy or benefit from!

Waterloo & Failed Narcissistic Campaigns

by Quercus

Ah, the Napoleon complex - a popular term used to describe gross overcompensation for a perceived short-coming (as in a short stature in men). I could argue that all narcissists have a Napoleon complex of a sort - think about your parent and their overcompensation (was it 'power'? Beauty? 'Respect'? Control? Intelligence?). It's pitiful, isn't it?

Napoleon's famous defeat at Waterloo was a military misstep. He was threatened by the armies of Wellington (British-Dutch-Allied) and Blucher (Prussian), and decided to attack them before a larger coalition could be formed and invade and take-over France. (A good offense is a good defense? Perhaps not always).

This move reminds me of so many narcissistic tactics - strike fast and prevent your enemies from collaborating and getting any traction (i.e. triangulation of the siblings; pit 'em against each other to prevent them from forming a united front against you, and take 'em all out at once if you suspect they've banded together). It's always a battle in their minds, isn't it? Not "live and let live" but "command and conquer" to neutralize the (perceived) threat.

Waterloo was a famous flop by a famous narcissist. I can think of a few 'campaigns' that have flopped on my NParents - one obvious one in particular.

The other daughter

It's taken me years and years to realise what was happening in this major campaign - it completely flopped because my reaction, my envy and outrage, was the explicit goal. And I completely missed the point!

My NM replaced me with a surrogate 'daughter' of similar age at her place of employment. For years, she did everything with this girl. She even tried to get her to date her golden-child son. The girl, who I never met (and whom I always rather liked in my mind - she sounded like a complete angel!), was the sole female object of my NM's affection, money, time and praise.

And she was always, always brought up in front of me. "Guess what me and ____ did today?" NM would boast at the dinner table. I always listened and was supportive. As I said, she sounded wonderful - I would like to meet her myself. For years this 'close friendship' between my NM and someone 27 years her junior apparently continued. And over time, I started to really want to meet this girl. She sounded like the loveliest person who ever lived. I would have sincerely liked to have been friends with her (hey, if she could be that close with my NM, than surely she'd like me!). I knew everything about her - she was the daily conversation at dinner. I knew more about her love life than I thought I ought to (never tell a narcissist anything!). She was touted as being beautiful, brilliant, creative, shapely, friendly, likeable - she sounded perfect.

I think that the momster's goal was to make me jealous of the other girl. That might have been NM's entire goal. A three-year (or longer) campaign had been launched against me. And I didn't even notice, not for a moment. Apparently I didn't have a jealous bone in my body against this girl (why should I? She sounded like a lovely human being!). It's only now, perhaps a decade later, that I've realised what on earth was going on. How I missed this must've been serendipitous (thank you for keeping me in the dark, Lord!).

At the time, I thought it odd that this girl never came to our place for dinner or a party. I think she probably would have, assuming my NM's stories were accurate - they were "closer than close". But now I think my NM wanted to keep us apart. I know she wanted to hook up the friend with my brother - why wouldn't she bring her home? Oddly, golden-child had met her (and expressed sexual interest in the conquest that was her body - yuck); perhaps there were whole family gatherings in which she replaced me. Who knows - it's entirely plausible.

Other daughter eventually faded away into obscurity. Obviously she moved on with her life; changed careers, got married, moved away, the usual sort of thing. The bizarre 'friendship' with a much older lady couldn't have been central to her young life, naturally. So there was no sudden change-of-heart or falling out that I ever heard of - she just stopped coming up as often.

(There is a small part of me that can't help but wonder if NM overstepped a boundary, and the prudent "other daughter" headed for the hills! Can't imagine NM would have relayed that information on to me if it had happened! NM did not, however, warrant an invite to 'other daughter's' wedding. And thinking back, I think she only ever called our home once or twice - a big, BIG deal was made about that! Can't help but think NM constructed a reason for her to call just so I would hear her getting so excited and giggling like a young girl on the phone to this girl who actually merited her attention!).

It was when I started therapy years later and learned about NPD, that the other daughter popped back into my mind - she was meant to make me jealous! To punish me! To hurt me as much as my NM could possibly hurt me! And it all went "whoosh", straight over my head (again, thank you Lord! Ignorance is bliss!).

The dinner table was my NM's favourite place to cause strife. Somehow, it was always me who ruined dinner, though. I remember deciding not to eat with my family, because I half believed that it was my fault that every dinner ended in a screaming match, and half that I was getting scapegoated for something I couldn't triumph over anyway. I honestly believed that feeding myself later in my room would be preferable to all parties. You can imagine my surprise when I "ruined dinner" by not showing up! Damned if I do, and damned if I don't with NM and EF!

For awhile, my EF was the designated scapegoat: NM found someone she was sooooo attracted to at work and decided to humiliate my father with comparisons with this 'better man' right at the dinner table. This went on for at least a month, probably three. I'm sure I got blamed for it somehow in the end, though!

But "the other daughter" - she was my "better than you" example. And she went on for years. And I never once lost my temper, or shouted, or rolled my eyes. I didn't make a single sarcastic comment about her (again, she sounded perfect - where was the fault to pick apart?!), and I didn't bother to compete with her. It never occurred to me to cry foul.

NM had overplayed her hand; in order for me to have been jealous, I would have had to believe that the other girl was getting something I could have had myself - my mother's love.

I had figured out that there was no love for me decades earlier.

'The other daughter' wasn't my NM's Waterloo - I still think her 'last battle' against me is yet to come. But as far as involved, complex campaigns go, this one was a total failure.

And somehow, it makes me really happy. I won because I never played the game.

As my psychologist says, "Play her game, and you will only ever lose. The only way to 'win' is to never, ever play along with her games."

Here's hoping the next "game" will also fly completely under my radar.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sh*t NMoms Say!

by Quercus

In following in the illustrious footsteps of the folks who brought you, "Sh*t White People Say" and "Sh*t College Students Say" (my favourites: "Sh*t Asian Moms Say", "Sh*t Hipsters Say") etc., I give you.....

Sh*t NMoms Say!

"Go play in traffic."

"I'm not surprised you failed."

"You don't have the body for it."

"After all I've done for you!"

"Ungrateful b*tch!"

"You ruined my body!"

"I was in labour for 14 hours with you!"

"This is all your fault."

"Hmm? I wasn't listening."

"She's always been jealous of me."

"She's just jealous of me."

"She can't even hide her envy of me!"

"I feel so sorry for her....!" (small grin)

"What a tragedy!" (huge grin)

"Honor Thy Mother and Father!"

"Show some RESPECT!"

"I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it!"

"I don't even want to look at you."

"I could've had an abortion. You owe me."

"It's my fault you're getting fat - I'm too good a cook, I guess!"

"You're just like your father!"

"Your Grammie hates me. She's a mean old witch."

"Your father said he hated you. Ooops! I wasn't supposed to tell you!" (big grin)

"I never said that."

"You're lying!"


"Move out."

"I don't care if you do die!"

"You're getting too big for your own britches!"

"Mind your own business!"

"I could have married a rich man, but instead I married your pathetic father."



"Are you talking to me?! Can't you see I'm busy?!"

"Drop dead."

"You're looking . . . a little thick around the middle, aren't you dear?"


"You think I'm a bad mother!"

"Go to hell!"




"It looks cheap."

"That's cheap."

"I'd never buy anything so cheap."

"We're 'upper middle class'."

"I could have married a millionaire."

"She's just jealous of me."

"What, I have to drop everything just because you have an ear ache?!"

"You can't sing."

"I hate the sound of your voice!"

"I got better grades than that when I was in school."

"Well, it's obvious - she's just jealous of me!"

"I was over-qualified, otherwise they would have given me the job on the spot!"

"I'm too intelligent to believe in God."

"She's not as intelligent as I am."

"She's sooooo jealous of me! Sooooooo jealous!"

"I got promoted! Now so-and-so is sooooooo jealous! She's sooooo threatened by me!"

"I fired so-and-so today!"

"Isn't she pathetic? Isn't that weird?"

"You're embarrassing me."

"You're just trying to hurt me!"

"This is so beneath me."

"F*ck off."

"I was fired because what's-his-face knew I was going to get his job!"

"She's an idiot."

"He's a retard."

"They don't even know how to do their jobs!"

"I'm the boss!"

"This is MY house!"

"My way or the highway!"

"I'll decide when you are finished dinner!"

"You're grounded!"

"I never said that. You misheard me."

"As if!"

"No way!"

"She's MY cat!" 

"Clean up the litterbox - she's your cat!"

"Buy your own clothes."

"You have too many clothes."

"You said I could have it."

"I asked if I could wear it!"

"You should have washed it yourself if you didn't want it ruined! Well, you shouldn't have left it in the laundry room, then! Well, you should have left the load in your room until you were ready to do it!"

"It wasn't sabotage! Those pants didn't look good on you anyway!"

"You're spoiled."

"Because I said no."

"I don't care!"

"You're a fat pig!"

"I look really skinny today!"

"My shoes cost more than all of your clothes combined!"

"She was insanely jealous!"

"You should have seen her face!"

"Those are MY snacks - you're not allowed any of them!"

"Ha! You don't need to have dinner tonight! Look at you!"

"I'm the alpha female!!!!"

"She's a bitch - she's obviously jealous of me."

"I could have done so much better than your father."

"It's natural to have a favourite child. Not everyone's strong enough to admit that, but I am!"

"Well, she's threatened by my intelligence."

"I hate you."

"You can't do that."

"Not in my house."

"Because I said so!"

"I don't care!"

"You don't deserve it!"

"You've got your father's thighs."

"You'll never get a man!"

"You're on drugs!! You're on drugs! I knew it!" 

"You're hard to love."

"You've always been difficult to like."

"Pork chop!"

"Miss Piggy!"

"Nosy cow!"

"I could have been so much more if I hadn't spent years raising you kids!"

"I didn't think you wanted it anymore!"

"You have to make dinner."

"Clean the bathroom."


"You always sleep in."



"You're wearing that?!"

"Shut up! Just shut up! I don't want to hear your voice!"

"This little 'estrangement' of yours ends NOW."

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

ACON - Air Conditioning?

by Quercus

Some light reading for today's post...

"ACoN" in our usage doesn't refer to "A/C" or "Air Conditioning". But as a metaphor, it could:

How ACoN's are like "ACON":

Both are used to make an inhospitable environment more tolerable to the controller.

Use of either is inefficient - it takes incredible amounts of energy to keep both an ACoN and ACON running.

Neither have a choice on when they are turned on or off - they're controlled by someone else.

Sometimes they are a source of pride for the owner ("We have ACON!") and are bragged about, though that pride never translates into affection for the ACoN/ACON unit.

No one worries about the ACoN/ACON; if burns out, they'll get a new and better one.

Both are expected to clear the air, though neither sullied it.

Both are expected to be present, working, but silent and not seen.

If it's chilly, they'll get blamed for the icy atmosphere (regardless of who set the dials).

They have lots of convenient buttons to push.

They are taken for granted. Older ones are replaced, unceremoniously, by newer, more responsive systems.

They aren't repaired until they completely fall apart. Maintenance is a hassle for the owner.

Some aren't even allowed completely into the house - they are only allowed to peer in through the window.

They are viewed as machines to provide a service and nothing more.

They have no rights.

Sometimes, though they're working at full tilt, someone will open a door or a window as well. They endlessly try to cool the atmosphere of the entire world until they break down, at which point they are blamed, referred to as a piece of crap, and kicked to the curb.

They may have served an entire family for decades, tirelessly, without complaint - and they are simply discarded and complained about when they die of exhaustion.

Both can 'vent' endlessly! :-)

How ACoNs are NOT like "ACON":

ACoNs can quit before they die.

ACoNs do, in fact, have rights outside of their FOO.

ACoNs can walk away.

ACoNs can learn to disable their buttons and dials.

ACoNs can get therapy (maintenance) and be reconfigured to perform different functions that would benefit the ACoN as opposed to just the FOO!

ACoNs can read. And write. And express themselves!

ACoNs can get access to the internet (though perhaps there are fancy A/C units that can do that, too! I don't know!).

ACoNs can communicate with other ACoNs and show each other respect and love.

ACoNs can choose who they serve, and what services they provide. And they can negotiate and have their own needs met as well.

ACoNs have hope.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Baby Farm: I'm not here to supply you infants!

by Quercus

When I started The ACoN Society, I wanted to start something quite different than a personal blog. And yet here I am, with another angry self-centric rant!

I think it must be part of the ACoN experience to need to vent, to have your pain validated. So forgive me another "Me-Me-Me" post - hopefully it'll spur on an important discussion for everyone to benefit from!

I am NOT your Baby Farm

"You have certain expectations for your daughter," said my NM when she accused me of being a lesbian. For starters, this really hurt because I'm not gay and anyone who knew me at all would know that. My mother should have known this - how many times did I open up to her about man problems? Guys I liked? Issues regarding heterosexual sexuality?!

Her issues, it turns out, seem to have stemmed from her fear that if I were a lesbian, I wouldn't choose to have children of my own. Her callous comments also hurt because I sensed that I would have been loved by her even less were I a lesbian (could it be possible for her to love me any less?! Would I simply cease to have any intrinsic value whatsoever if I didn't reproduce? Is that all I am to her? A baby farm?!).

I wouldn't have kids so that they could grow to supply me with anything; raising a child is the whole reward! My children's choice to become parents in their own right would be completely, utterly, wholly their own decision (and a huge decision with major and far-reaching implications at that!). I wouldn't even offer my opinion on the subject of their starting a family unless it was explicitly asked for. I can't think of anything that could be considered less of my 'business'!

A major decision - a life-changing decision for you, your spouse, and the innocent you brought into the world without its express consent. This is not a decision to be made lightly. It's not one I'm going to get bullied into. It's the needs of the future child I'm concerned about, not me and my husband's, and certainly not my evil NM's wishes!

But if I were to view babies as commodities - things I was entitled to - then the decision-making process and the implications of having one will be relatively minor. In that instance, I'd care mainly about stretch marks and how my body would look post-baby. In the meanwhile, I'd have a cute little thing to dress up, breast feed, coddle and parade around in an expensive designer stroller. A thing to brag about. A prized possession. Something to make me feel a certain way - like a real woman or some such crap. And I'd have an excellent, captive source of narcissistic supply!

Here's the trouble - babies are people, even though many people seem to want to overlook that fact. They are the infantile stage of a human being - and one capable of having their own babies in just 12-14 years! 'Babies' grow up fast; 'babies' are a fleeting first phase in the life cycle of a person. Every 80 year old man shuffling along the sidewalk was a baby once. So was I. Everyone you see was once somebody's little 'bundle of joy'.

I don't know if it's the maternal instinct, or our society, that causes the baby-lust and objectification of people as goods, but "I'm having a baby" and "This is my baby" and all other such statements seem to belie the fact we collectively view 'babies' as objects or pets at best. Something warm and cute and cuddly; a possession. A toy.

What is essential is that we remember that any given infant - the screaming, pooping, laughing, crawling, nursing pile of cute - is, in fact, a latent adult. And babies don't stay 'cute' forever either - they quickly become belligerent toddlers, tots, tweens and teens. They are a person, with rights, value, hopes and dreams. The brain they have now will carry them forward for the rest of their lives. Same heart, same organs, same eyes. The memories they form, the beliefs they acquire, the personality they develop - it all starts when they are a baby, but it lasts a lifetime.

I don't think narcissists quite see babies as anything but 'babies' - something to use. Something for them to pick up, carry around, make faces at, talk about, keep them company, etc. How many articles have I read about narcissistic mothers where the NM preferred the child when they were small? Too many to count. Small and mirroring and easily manipulated - that's what NM's enjoy. Any older than that, and you're a unwanted burden. And I have REAL issues with this.

I don't doubt for a moment that I was born a commodity. I was the cause of stretch marks, unwanted hair growth, hormonal imbalances, an emergency caesarean, mastitis and post-partum depression (and this is just in the first few weeks of my life; my NM's own reflections of that time). I came at a great price - I was expected to perform and give unlimited love and validation to the owner of the surly uterus that gave rise to me.

I didn't have any choice in the matter; I was born because my parents intentionally left off the condom that night. I knew nothing - I came out completely helpless. It wasn't my fault that I was a week or more overdue, or that I slept through the full first night when "babies aren't supposed to do that". It wasn't my fault that I was female, either. Or that I had a giant head. Or that I got unbecomingly 'chunky' and was put on a diet in my first year of life!

And yet, somehow, I have been made to feel horrible for all these things. I was a source of immense worry and anxiety, a constant pooper, a 'real pig' with food. I was supposed to be different somehow, and yet, looking at this scenario through the lens of an adult, I don't think I would have constituted a particularly high-maintenance neonate! I wasn't 'special needs', I didn't have any health or feeding issues, and apparently I was quite the sleeper.

Why did they have me, exactly? What was the motivation there? To fill a yawning emptiness in my mother's soul*? To be the envy of their peers? To have someone to push around? Who knows - all I do know is that they've entirely missed the point of having children; they didn't seem to enjoy having to raise us when we were small, and we don't 'do enough' for them now.
*there's no excuse in my mind for her not seeking therapy prior to having me; I was planned.

Why did they have me, I will never know. But I know what's expected of me: grandchildren. NOW.

My NParents are always trying to catch me by surprise (the at-home or at-work 'pop-in'; happened as recently as last week!), and as far as we can tell it's for two reasons: to prove that they can decide when they see me (I don't get to tell them 'no'), and also to make sure I'm not pregnant without telling them (hence the straining to check my waistline!). They send flying monkeys over the internet to ask me if I'm expecting, and even this morning an old friend who may or may not have been in contact with my parents texted me out of the blue and without pretext to ask if I was "preggers", an expression I simply loathe. When I said I had no plans to do so in the near future, I got a sarcastic response hinting that this decision was undesirable or abnormal.

Here's the thing - my "view" of the sacred state of "Motherhood" is a dark one, mostly because of my experiences with my own mother. I read the book, "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood; though it's meant to be a futuristic thriller about a dystopian totalitarian society where rich old couples are assigned 'handmaids' to become surrogate mothers (the rare fertile women are captured and taken into captivity, their husbands and children torn away from them), I saw so many parallels to the NM in the 'wives'. You can read the plot synopsis on the hyperlinked Wikipedia article, but I recommend the book. It's a very creepy read, be forewarned.

I enjoyed this book because it so completely encapsulated my feelings on my own fertility; the old hag that owns me will have her own little 'birthing' party, fake labour pains, have people rally around her and congratulate her on becoming a (grand)mother! Meanwhile, ignored in the corner is the actual mother giving actual birth to a real live baby, her baby, which is taken away and given to someone else. The real mother is in essence a farm animal for breeding purposes. No rights, no compassion, no nothing. Used and abused. And used and abused to give rise to a child she can't protect. This inability to 'protect' my child from my NParents may even keep me from ever conceiving. I can't risk exposing an innocent baby (who is my precious God-given responsbility) to their toxicity.

I do want to have a family one day. I have actually always had a real soft spot for adoption, something my NM has criticized with hostility over the years (now I know why). Clearly, the sole reason my additional X chromosome has been tolerated is because one day I'd supply her with freshly laid, genetically-related offspring for her to manipulate. And that day has, according to them, come.

This is the single most frightening aspect to me about my parents. It isn't all the awful, verging-on-the-criminal things they've done to me, or the emotional abuse and neglect of the past and present, it's this. That they are somehow entitled to dictate what I do with my own internal organs! They are able to tell me what the remainder of my adult life should be! But worst of all, they are able to possess my children.

I don't know if anyone else has these issues/fears - it sounds like many of you already had children well before coming to grips with your parent's narcissism. Being on this side of the equation scares the living daylights out of me. It might even prevent me from having children outright, though my real friends have urged me to not allow my mother to take my fertility, too.

Any thoughts or comments? Is this just a concern of the engulfed-ACoN and not the ignored-ACoNs? I hope someone can relate to what I'm writing.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


by Quercus

"Living well is the best revenge"
- George Herbert, clergyman & poet (1593-1633)

I first heard that quote from my NM. Strange that one day it would be her that I'd seek 'revenge' on...

When replying to one of Jessie's comments on the last post, I realised something about the sociopath/psychopath/demon/narcissist who is my NM. The only way, the only way, to win against her, to disable her, to render her harmless is to become her.

To out-manipulate her, I have to think like her, be like her. I have to stop seeing her as a human being with a right to dignity and view her as an adversary. I have to defeat her, and I mean really defeat her; take her out of the game. De-claw her. De-throne her. Destroy her.

No taking the high road. No turning the other cheek. I'd have to bare my teeth and rip into her the way she rips into me. I'd start with her physical appearance - she's always been sensitive about her looks - and I'd slowly, deliberately pick apart every flaw, every shortcoming. I'd say it benignly enough, without overt emotion, to make sure it all sunk in.

I'd be just like my NGrandfather - I would seek out the insecurities, the flaws, the chinks in the armour, slip in a knife quickly so she didn't pull away, and twist it, slowly, at just the right pace. Then I'd twist a different knife, just to make sure she couldn't get wise and mount a response. Before she'd muster up the willpower to stand up to me, I'd have already moved onto a new wound, twisting the knife there. Always one step ahead. Cold, calculating.

Soon, she'd be disoriented and hurt. She wouldn't run away or fight back - she'd hardly know what to fight back against, as there were so many little innocuous comments, observations, sleights that seemed as though they were meant as compliments. It's always impossible to name the pain, point at the insult. I'd deny it, and tell her that she was imagining it, reading too much into it, being paranoid. I'd gaslight her now, too, and bring up another time that she was mistaken, to cause her to doubt her own perceptions. I'd pretend that I was trying to help her - that I cared.

And then, I'd seal the deal (for today, anyway - it's a long campaign). I'd say something vaguely loving to her. Something supportive, but again, wrapped in a comment that would erode a little more of her away. Something encouraging yet discouraging.

(I'm rather relieved I couldn't actually construct that last sentence as an example! It's good to know you're not an evil genius like the one who maimed you!)

But this isn't me. I don't believe in repaying bad with bad - in those situations, I believe in walking away. Disengaging. And yet I have such trouble in walking away, once and for all, from my FOO and the NM.

Even if I was capable of pulling off the ultimate coup d'etat by beating her at her own game, I wouldn't allow myself; what if the feeling of dominance, of control, of power would corrupt me?

Power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts absolutely.

Is this how my NM went from being ACoN to N? Did she try to overthrow her father and fail? Clearly she failed - she is now catering to his every whim in his old age; a servant, a cook, a whipping boy. And she hates him for it (so says my EF).

My NM can't fail at anything. She has to win, always win. She always has to be 'right'.

So I came about, a defenseless baby - I was the one she'd control. I provided her with power, just by being small and helpless. And then by being needy and helpless. And later by being needy, angry and easily manipulated. I think I'm still needy (of the love I never had), but mostly angry and easily manipulated.

I satisfy her insane lust for power. No wonder she 'needs me' back so badly; I'm a work of art - carefully sculpted and built to serve a particular function. There is no one else quite like me - the special little scapegoat.

As I said to Jessie, NM pulls my strings and pushes my buttons - strings and buttons that have always worked for her in the past. So I've gotten 'stronger' - I've disabled those or am prepared with counter-measures to offset their effects. And then she yanks a string I didn't even know I had, causing me to jerk accordingly, to react. To prove to her that she can make me dance whenever she wants. I'd like to think I can handle her now. That I know all her secrets and can defend myself. But the truth is that I know, somewhere in my heart, that she'll always be one step ahead of me. She's got the 'evil edge' - the villain always manages to pull a fast one on the hero of the story by exploiting the compassion, the 'weakness', of the hero. Try as I might, I'm never going to be able to deliver that final blow. I'm not a monster. This is the final chink in the armour that I can't fill in. I can't fill it in because it's what makes me different than my NM. It might be one of the few things that differentiates me.


I feel used. Like a sex toy or something. Like something someone gets off on and tosses aside. A loathsome object that is resented; my use, my presence exposes a 'problem' for the user. In the case of a sex toy, I'm a missing partner, or the inability to be pleased in a natural way, or maybe I'm representative of a sexual dysfunction. Maybe I'm a guilty fantasy that is not to be indulged, but is - I satisfy, but I give guilt.

For my NM, I'm a victim - I'm weaker than her (which is what she wants), but I'm also her 'baby', her ward, an innocent. I'll bet that I triggered some guilt, was then resented for that, and then hated all the more. Maybe I'm right and this cycle repeated, causing her to feel less guilt and more hate; eventually she started to enjoy my pain in a sadistic way. Where there was once guilt, there is now hatred; I deserve to be abused.

Sometimes I can't mentally take 'the high road'. Sometimes I fall short of the ideal (generally a Biblical one) that I set for myself. I know it's a daily struggle and that humans aren't perfect. But there is a part of me that is really, really bad. Pure anger, pure hatred. And it burns so badly - I am tempted to put it into use and hurt my NM the way she hurt me. I mean really hurt her - take her down. Destroy her power over me. Humiliate her.

If I thought I could do it, that I could outwit her and out match her nastiness, would I try it? I don't know. I think the anger blinds me to the fact that 'evil' people are unbeatable. If hatred is sin, and if sin causes you to do wrong, and we are warned against sin - not just 'cause it's morally objectionable but because it will destroy us - I can see that it's wise not to follow the temptation. No good could come of it, even if I was just thinking of my own needs. I don't want to sell myself out to score a point on NM. I don't want to risk getting stuck there, becoming the person I hate! And I especially don't want to risk treating anyone the way I was treated (with the possible exception of my NM - hence the title of the post).

Revenge is not something to seek, ACoNs. No good can come of it - how many times have we learned this from literature and movies?! But it's a temptation we as human beings must face.

And so I will seek 'revenge' in the only positive way I know how: I'll live well. And perhaps in time, I'll forgive, but never forget.

I'll stave off the temptation to slide into vengeance. As Jesus himself said,
"Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword." 
 I don't want to go the same route my NM went. Proverb 25:26 says,
Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
Yeah. I don't want to be muddied any more than I already am. I'm sure it would feel good, sinfully good, to roll around the muck and mire of malignant narcissism. But I'm also sure it would be a curse; a thirst that would never be quenched, a hunger that would never be satisfied.

And that sounds exactly like the situation I'm already in; yearning forever for a love I'll never receive. So I guess I'm not missing out by taking that high road. I'll continue to stick to my morals, to fight the good fight, and to keep that sword sheathed - I don't want to suffer the same fate as the one my NM will . . . abandonment. I don't want to spend my life hurting others to make myself feel good.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

ACoN FAQ's - Ask and Answer!

by Quercus

Please help build a FAQ page for The ACoN Society!

Comment below (or via email - see side bar) with questions, i.e.:
  • Does my NParent know that how they treat me is wrong?
  • Are they accidentally hurting me, or is it 'on purpose'?
  • Can my NParent change?
  • Is it possible my NParent loves me still, even though they are abusive?
  • Why won't my other parent do something to help me?! 
  • Is it morally/ethically/spiritually wrong of me to go 'no-contact' with my NParents?!
  • What is 'no-contact' anyway?
  • How do I know if my parent has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or not? Who diagnoses that? And is there treatment for it? What's the success rate?
No question is too general, too specific, or off limits (Trolls - this doesn't include your questions; they get axed on sight).

If you are a seasoned ACoN veteran, please comment below with answers, or with commonly asked questions followed by answers!

Help preserve your collective wisdom for the benefit of fellow ACoNs!

I've probably missed a dozen or so common ones - your knowledge is needed!

*Special thanks to Ruth for suggesting the inclusion of a FAQ page!*

Monday, 17 September 2012

Another Brick in the Wall

by Quercus

Is your NParent blaming you for the broken relationship? Are they accusing you of constructing a 'wall'?

Yeah, mine do that too. So I decided to illustrate the issue at hand with a 'letter' and two images:

Salutations, NParent.
Here's a wall, built brick by brick:

Here's the wall between us - the bricks are individually labelled (with words said to me or about me over the years. These are some of the more memorable hurled insults and jabs, de-identified):

It takes two after all, doesn't it, NParent? It's not all your fault!

We built the walls, but you provided the bricks.

And every other adult you speak to regarding your awful 'estranged child' will suspect as much. Just wanted you to know that the next time you go fishing for sympathy - you'll look pathetic to them; you'll garner pity for your own dysfunctional ways. Because every good parent knows where the bricks come from. They'll nod and "tsk tsk" supportively, all the while putting a neat little 'red flag' next to your name in their mind: "Warning: Abuser". 

The truth, NParent, is that all children love their parents (so do ACoNs, ironically, if you haven't completely killed it for them). No child raised in a kind and loving environment would build such a 'wall'. If you don't believe me, ask a psychologist. If you did nothing wrong, if you're every bit as good as any other parent, what's to fear?

You know you did wrong. We know. Everyone knows. Some people just humour you to be polite, or perhaps they are manipulating you to get what they need out of you (ah, irony).
So here's the wall. Thanks for the bricks.
Want to start deconstructing 'the wall'? Want to knock it down joyfully and reunite the way that they did in Berlin?

That's surprisingly easy to do! Ask about a brick, any brick, in particular. Ask for a 'big one', a load-bearing brick. Get your estranged child to, again, repeat for you what is written on the brick.

Now apologise for it. Humble yourself. Get on your knees and beg. We're talking Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, or the Grinch when he realises he couldn't steal Christmas - your total rebirth as a loving, kind and humble human being. You can't fake it - it's got to be genuine. Apologise for that brick. Make amends for that brick. It might take years, but you're a new man or woman now! You're Alastair Sim in a nightshirt frightening the maid because she thinks you've gone mad! You're the Grinch with the heart that grew three sizes that day!

Then, ask for another brick. Apologise, make amends (if you can), and keep going. Brick by brick you can deconstruct that wall. Your estranged child will even start deconstructing from their side, once you've made an appreciable dent and proven that your new heart wasn't a sham to trick them into speaking with you!

And then - reconciliation! How sweet the sound!

Why do I get the feeling you stopped reading at "apologise"?

NParent, if you can man-up (or woman-up) and have the intestinal fortitude necessary to do the right thing, you will have earned your adult child back in your life. And you will likely live happily ever after.

You just have to do the right thing. Can you? (A very sad little part of my brain says, "No. They can't.").

With hope,
your ex-child

To my fellow dear ACoNs - feel free to fill in your own brick wall. I kept mine anonymous (leaving out telling nicknames, omitting certain details) so that I could share it online. You could do the same, or let it all out, all of it, and save the image and make it your desktop background, never to be posted on the net. If you're really worried about security (i.e. the parents could hack your hard-drive), print it out and fill it in with pen instead.

Taking away the power of their words feels good. Admitting responsibility also feels good - yes, I built 'the wall' of low/no-contact. But it's because of the bricks they slung at me and continue to sling at me - it's a defensive barrier to keep me safe. Most parents don't sling bricks, ergo, no brick wall between them and their children.

To fill in your own brick wall, click on the blank wall image, then right click, "Save file as...". I used Paint (standard Microsoft Windows software) to fill in my wall (click on the "A" symbol for a text box, position appropriately, then select font and size for your text. Type, then click outside of the text box to 'fix' your text in place. There's an 'undo' arrow at the top left of the screen if needed. Save as you go). If you don't have specialized image software, you could also open it in Powerpoint and save the final version as an image rather than a slideshow - this is a more forgiving option than Paint as it allows editing after fixing the text in place (Paint doesn't). 

Feel free to submit your brick walls for inclusion in a future project on The ACoN Society - The Great Wall of ACoN. Make sure you haven't left any identifiers written on the wall for trolls to find, assuming as always that they're spending hours and hours obsessively hunting their prey. (Which they are - see Upsi's blog for some particularly warty and belligerent troll posts!).

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Can You Feel Loved?

by Quercus

Angry post warning...!
This post is dedicated to "Another Scapegoat" - when your NM said, "you’re my daughter, I love you, yadda, yadda, yadda" after she terribly berated you and your fiance in a place you couldn't get away from, I felt for you. I've heard that very phrase at the end of cruel and hateful tirades too many times to remember. And I feel that my hatred of that abuse of the term 'love' is absolutely justified....

Here's a thought - has 'love' been ruined for you?

I recently heard a sermon on the deep love of God for his children. The pastor asked us to reflect on a moment in our lives where we felt loved, and to 'magnify' that in our minds to imagine the deep love of God who died for us . . .

All very nice sentiments, a good illustration, but there was one big problem for me . . . I've never felt 'loved'. At least, I couldn't recall a time where I had felt 'deeply loved', despite the fact that I know I must've felt this way towards and from my husband several times this month alone. If I think about it really hard, I can vaguely remember that I must've felt totally loved by my husband at certain points in my life (I remember being moved to tears last week only), but try as I might, I couldn't feel that love again retroactively in my heart in order to magnify it.

I started to wonder why on earth this would be. Suppression, obviously - but why? Why suppress ever feeling loved?!

And then it dawned on me. A cold, chilling light shone in a dark corner of my soul illuminating the terrible answer: my parents, vectors of my first experiences with humanity and love, used "love" to hurt me time and time again. Rapists do it too, "Because I love you!"

I Love You. Possibly the three most manipulative words in existence.

All you have to do is add "therefore,...." or "since I love you,...." and you can see how by 'loving' someone, you can justify all sorts of evil.

"Can't you see that your mother loves you?!" (said EF). No. My brain has trained itself to ignore that, because every single time I trusted you, you have hurt me, NM - intentionally. You're sick, you know that, don't you? Every time you say to me, "I know you know that I love you", I'm going to reply, "You're sick, and you know that as well as I".

My malicious, hateful, f---ed-up mother used 'love' to cover her tracks. She convinced me that she couldn't have possibly done whatever-it-was on purpose, because she 'loved' me.

She has ruined 'love' for me. Now, I don't want to know how much my husband loves me. I don't want to know even how much God loves me. Because if I allow myself to feel loved, I am truly vulnerable. And I can't do that anymore. For decades and decades my emotionally stunted, controlling and capricious fore-bearers have done whatever they liked to make themselves feel better, stronger, smarter than me - a child for most of that time - and have then 'written off' their despicable, cowardly, cruel behaviour with a claim that 'they love me'.

Heck, maybe they actually believe that they love me. Maybe their definition of 'love' somehow excludes respect, dignity, humility, consideration and self-sacrifice (it definitely excludes self-sacrifice!!!). So it isn't truly love. But the word 'love' has been tainted all the same (cue Soft Cell... creepy video - Caligula?).

My rotten, perverse and malignant mother has used 'love' as a reason to emotionally abuse me for my entire life. Is it any wonder I can't allow myself to 'feel loved'?! Hardly. I walled off my heart to stay alive - as a desperate attempt to survive. Unfortunately, it's difficult to open it up again - I know I can't take any more abuse. I will die.

Thanks, NM. This is your legacy. This is how you raised me. It's on your head.

Accountability's a bitch, eh? Good thing I don't throw it back in your face. Good thing for you I blog about it anonymously instead.

Because I love you.

Tainted Love - Soft Cell

Sometimes I feel I've got to 
run away, I've got to 
get away 
from the pain you drive into the heart of me.
The love we share 
seems to go nowhere,
And I've lost my light,
For I toss and turn I can't sleep at night.

Once I ran to you,
Now I run from you,
This tainted love you've given,
I give you all a boy could give you,
take my tears and that's not nearly all,
Tainted Love.
Tainted Love.

Now I know I've got to 
run away, I've got to,
get away 
you don't really want any more from me 
to make things right.
You need someone to hold you tight,
and you'll think love is to pray*,
but I'm sorry I don't pray that way!

Once I ran to you,
Now I run from you,
This tainted love you've given,
I give you all a boy could give you,
take my tears and that's not nearly all,
Tainted Love.
Tainted Love.

Don't touch me, please
I cannot stand the way you tease!
I love you though you hurt me so,
now I'm going to pack my things and go!
Tainted Love, tainted love, tainted love....

(QG's note: *prey?)

Friday, 14 September 2012

ACoN Support Personnel - an Essential Service

by Quercus

I have often pondered aloud with my shrink as to why I sought out therapy at this most inconvenient, stressful and busy time of my life. I've never been the most strategically minded, but I was beginning to wonder if my timing in sorting out all this NPD-FOO mess wasn't just catastrophically mistimed but actually deliberate - an act of self-sabotage, perhaps?

"You sought help now because you were finally in a position to do so. You consciously or unconsciously jumped at your first opportunity to address the issues. You were just waiting until you had the resources available, by which I mean the support of your husband and physical and financial independence from your parents." - my psychologist

Huh. Well done, my unconscious mind, leaping to my defense by enlisting help at the earliest opportunity! It's made the rest of my life a right mess, but I suppose there's no time in particular that would have been seen as convenient. So why put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today?

I guess I had been emotionally chomping at the bit, and when those gates opened to expose just a sliver of daylight, I was off to the races!

I couldn't have done it without my husband, though. (This is not going to devolve into some sort of sloppy, mushy poem about the love of my life, I promise!). The truth of the matter is that a caring friend could have helped me just as much. I think back on all of my close friends, though, and I see that none of them were either willing or able to help me out. Lack of will probably because of lack of intimacy - it's just hard to care that much about someone's comfort when you're not emotionally tied to it, I suppose. Sometimes a lack of will because as friends they are less than ideal (I don't think I can pick 'em - still have a bit of a blind spot for the horribly self-absorbed). And more often than not, the lack of the ability to help me out; I can think of one good friend who would have, but had so much of her own garbage to sort through that it made it practically impossible to extend a hand to me.

I've read blogs and comments by other ACoNs who were extremely fortunate enough to have a co-scapegoat sibling who are allies in their collective escape from the FOO. It strikes me that this set of circumstances is extraordinarily rare; most often, your poisonous parent has prevented bonding between siblings to better control you, or has pitted you against each other to compete for the parent's affection. My NM did both.

My youngest sibling and I have a weak but real relationship, though we are anything but 'close'. Using gender neutral terms to hide my identity from lurking NP's, the youngest isn't the golden child. The youngest also has felt the wrath of NM and EF, but is unwilling and/or unable to 'go there'. I sent them information on NPD, explained why I think NM has it (which didn't take much - she's textbook!), and they shrugged it off and said, "Yes, I see. I can't deal with this right now."

And so I count myself quite fortunate in that at least I can establish some dialogue. When the sh*t hits the fan and I am expunged from my FOO (hooray! Private party in my mind!), the youngest will remember the 'explanation' for such behaviour and can reach their own conclusion on the matter. If they go the ACoN route, I'll be glad for the company.

Apart from that one swing vote in my youngest sibling, everyone else is firmly trapped in the web of my FOO's pathology. Some have made a comfortable existence for themselves right in the thick of the spider silk, and I can't imagine them wanting to give up their power and influence to break free (even if it is ultimately in their own best interests).

I don't have any ACoN friends, unless you'll permit me to count yourself as a friend.

None of my in-the-flesh friends 'get it', not even close. I remember Anna Valerious (Narcissists Suck) in a Mother's Day themed post:

I don't blame the ignorant for their ignorance on this matter. In fact, there is something kind of innocent and sweet about them. They had a mother who truly loved them. How can they conceptualize a mother who is the complete inverse of good motherhood? What precedent could they use to pattern your mother after? Only fictional ones. Which is why they think these mothers only live in fiction. Therefore, you are making it up. Only the children who have witnessed the evil mother behind closed doors...the only place where her true evil was on full display...can attest to the existence of the soul-sucking mother who actually hates her children. Don't despise the innocent folk who were blessed with loving mothers. In fact, try to shelter these innocents from the truth of your mother. They are not equipped to handle what you know. Spare them when possible. Your mother is the stuff of nightmares. Don't foist those nightmares on the innocent if you can avoid doing so. - Anna Valerious, Narcissists Suck - Narcissist Mothers Suck

I quoted the whole paragraph (thanks Anna!) because it was such a good one. I think back to this every time I get frustrated that a friend has completely missed the point of an NPD or NM-centric conversation. "Try to shelter these innocents" is the phrase that echoes in my mind.

So I started this blog (this 'society') for myself and all the other ACoNs out there. I wanted to create a place where all the ACoNs could find each other. We're the only people who are going to understand what each other is going through, apart from a few loving, special people in our lives (I think of Jonsi, who is the lovely wife of an ACoN, and who has a terrific perspective on the subject as a result of being ever so slightly removed from it).

I hope that if you don't have anyone in your life who is committed to stand by you, to believe the incredulous-sounding stories you relate, and to 'go to bat' with you against the FOO when necessary, that you find the support you're needing here (that is, the internet as a whole) from fellow ACoNs. We'll cheer you on, we'll believe you, and we'll even be able to relate.

Don't underestimate the importance of 'ACoN Support Personnel' in your life. It might mean the difference between staying trapped in the web, or having the guts to start cutting free!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Stalking: a Favourite NPD Tactic

by Quercus

Elena recently posted "O Narc, Why Must You Stalk Me?" on ReSelfing. It's about a time when her mother was caught 'catching her' at a moment of solitude and relaxation (something, apparently, that was a no-no to the monstrous mother). I thoroughly enjoyed reading her description of the event - check it out!

My NM has since started stalking me too. I didn't really think too hard about this until I read Elena's post. As soon as I went 'Low Contact' (i.e. set limits and boundaries on NM and EF), they got a little twitchy. Actually, I'd say it started before that - perhaps they have very highly tuned 'radar' for sensing when you're mentally pulling back!

Oh no, wait - I just this instant realised what it was. If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I began therapy with a psychologist over a year ago now (best.decision.ever!). Well enabling father was made aware of this, because I used it as justification (oooh - bad idea) for not seeing NM. That's a mistake. Don't try to justify your behaviour; you don't have to answer to them anymore. You're not six. And even if you were, you probably still shouldn't have to justify taking care of yourself anyway.

That's when the stalking started! She must've realised that my seeing a psychologist spelled trouble for her!

Crap, I can't believe I didn't notice that sooner! It's proof to me that


She knew I was getting help and she panicked! Why panic if I'm truly the one with the mental health issues? It's always been the way - I've apparently had 'mental health issues' as long as I can remember, though no doctor or psychologist, teacher, coach, friend, boss, anyone has ever agreed with their assessment (ill-advised narcissistic ex-boyfriend aside, of course!).

You would think that me being in therapy with a psychologist who could conceivably 'commit' me to a mental institution would be a dream come true for NM! Think of the control!

"Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you doctor - my daughter's off her rocker again, accusing *me* of the most terrible things...! She's very clearly ill, the poor dear. Could you please top up her medication right away? She needs to be silenced, uh, sedated, of course. You almost pity them, don't you? Completely confused about everything, turning on her own loving mother! It's not easy for me at all, but such are the burdens I must carry."

Shiver. Strapped to a bed, getting pumped full of cognitive inhibitors, with the monster leering over you, playing the victim of your 'mental illness'. (Anyone want to co-write a thriller screenplay with me? Move over Silence of the Lambs!).

Maybe this is why N's won't do therapy. They know they'll be 'found out'! It's probably not easy to conceal your true intentions with someone who's trained to figure out what you're thinking! And maybe they're wise enough to know that the psychologist will 'find them out' just by talking to the ACoN!

I actively sought help because I was at the end of my tether and dealing with suicidal ideation on a daily basis. I knew things could only get better. At first, I was actually hoping that they could and would 'commit' me to a hospital and give me the isolation from my insane family I so felt I needed. Turns out that's not what I need - I can go 'No Contact' instead and live a free and full life anywhere in the world.

NM started to stalk me when she found out I was in therapy, which has continued on into the current state of 'low/no contact'. A few months back I was outside on the back porch for less than 10 minutes, eating a quick bite and getting some air before rushing out to meet visitors from out of town. In a 7 minute or so window, a car came skidding to a halt, parked squarely below the deck. It was my NM. (How I dealt with this is a subject for another post).

It didn't occur to me that she was waiting down the road with binoculars, or that she did frequent drive-bys to see in our windows and find out which moments we're at home (which is rarely these days). I just choked on my cold pizza slice and muttered, "Fuuuuuuuu-k" under my breath. "Of course now, right before I have to meet so-and-so on time at such-a-place."

I figured it was just hysterically poor timing. So did my husband.

But then patterns started to emerge. I typically have therapy on the same day each week. Once, just after a session, I was walking out of the building and on the same downtown city block was my NM. A block that is primarily residential - it wasn't as if she happened to be at the mall next door or anything.

Naturally I figured I was cracking up. A surge of panic flowed through me: "ACK! It's her!" but also "<Expletives> - I've finally lost it! I should just turn around and head back to the psychologist!!!" I was actually hoping I was going mad over the alternative! Why is she here? This is my refuge, my safe place! Oh my goodness, did she hear what I was saying about her?! Does she know where I go? Are her and my shrink staging some sort of intervention?! (Thankfully I have learned to trust my psychologist enough to know that his professional training would never allow him to even consider something so underhanded!).

I decided to 'jog' away quickly from the spectre of my mother, my face concealed. But I had to know. Stupidly, I glanced over my shoulder. It was her - she was squinting at me and everything. I sprinted so fast, I nearly got into an accident with a car. I was rattled for days after that 'chance' encounter.

I'm actually not one for paranoia. It takes too much energy to be hyper-vigilant! But as I said, I've started to see that there's a good possibility that my NM, much like other narcissists, has engaged in 'stalking' behaviour (I also have an ex-friend who I may or may not bring up here again, but she's completely nuts and has some narc-traits - she literally would lay in wait for me, and once even tried to corner me in a bathroom stall to force me to talk with her after going 'No Contact'! I put up some very strict boundaries with her and to date only have to deal with a few flying monkeys of the mutual friend variety).

I tend to have therapy sessions on a weekly basis, which more or less means the same convenient time and date each week (although I may see about changing that now). The 'pattern' that I very recently noticed was that EDad would contact me the very same day as my appointments. This has been the case for months now - the text, email or phone call comes through the afternoon of my appointment. Digital records confirm this. I told my EDad I was seeing a psychologist every week - did they find out what day it was? Did I accidentally reveal the day during that call? For people who generally don't hear a word I say, they have been known to remember certain advantageous nuggets of info.

There's also an alternative explanation - coincidence. There's a 1/7 chance that for some reason they do all their scheming on the same weekday. They're certainly creatures of habit - they've treated me consistently like sh*t for years, rain or shine!

Who knows if they've figured out when I see my shrink. They're certainly not respecting my request for privacy (low contact). My parents have made it clear that they may see me whenever they choose, at the drop of a hat. My privacy, my life holds no barrier to their wishes. (Oh how I loathe them for this!).

NM would, in the past two years or so, show up at my workplace without any warning. "Hel-loooo! I'm just waiting outside your door!" I stayed in my office and skipped lunch the last time she tried that crap, texting her back with my cell phone to tell her that I was off-site that day and working elsewhere. I also sent out coworker spies to make sure the coast was clear! Time and time again, before I even started to consider cutting her off, I would demand that she give me at least some warning! Even in the days where I wouldn't have minded seeing her for lunch, she NEVER, EVER gave me more than a few seconds of warning. I remember saying, "Mom! You knew you'd be next door to my work a week ago! Why didn't you call me even as late as yesterday to let me know so I could pencil you in?!"

It never, ever worked! It's the same with my EDad, too; he'll give me a few to 24 hours notice now, but it's still not enough time. I told him I needed at least a week's notice to meet up with him. I told him my husband's parents could always manage to give us several weeks warning! I put up some hard limits with him last year and said, "If I don't get more than 7 days advanced warning, I will not see you on principle!"

Has it worked? Nope. Well, with the lone exceptions of Christmas-Easter-Thanksgiving, but that's only because the family Golden Child gets the benefit of 3 weeks' notice, not because EDad's decided to comply with my wishes.

NM loves the "pop-in". She's pulled it at really, really inappropriate times, too. I'd tell you about one such incident, but I'd have to fabricate most of it to keep it from being identifying. Let's just say that when a life is at stake, it's the perfect moment to wedge your foot in the door of your ACoN's home and invade while she's reeling at the news of a terrible accident and looming tragedy. My instinct? Do anything, everything I can to help the nightmarish situation and my affected loved ones. Her instinct? "Aha! I'll call her from her back door with the shocking and terrible news and tell her to let me in to hear the rest!"

I remember wanting to scream at her as I made frantic phone calls, sent emails and simultaneously contacted the authorities that somehow no one thought to have done 7 hours into the crisis. She sat there and talked endlessly about the tragedy and how my impending wedding "must go on" regardless of the outcome (and waxed poetic about how tragic it would be to have a wedding under such circumstances!).

The friend I said I may or may not mention again? Exact same thing. Exactly. Different person, different emergency scenario, but again a terrible accident and a chance the party in question may not survive. She showed up to our place in the middle of the night looking for help. That's not so weird - the weird part is that she didn't bother to awaken the building manager in the building that the emergency was potentially happening in. In fact, there were a ton of people she should've awoken before me . . . but I was the one that had limited contact! Naturally, she'd wake me up first, then think about the best interests of the victim whose life was hanging in the balance on a minute by minute basis!

It was my wonderful psychologist who pointed out the similarities in these two potential tragedies. It is God to Whom I am so thankful to for not allowing either dire and quite frankly terrifying situation to end in the death of two people I care for so very much (one a family member, one a close friend).

Apart from the two hyperlinked "stalking" articles above, I haven't found much online on stalking and NPD that hasn't been written by a certain self-proclaimed, self-promoting Narcissist who is an expert on himself.

(Here's a Wikipedia article on stalking, mentioning NPD).

But blog's like Elena mention this aberrant behaviour frequently. Here are some sites and blog posts (not mine) addressing the issue: (see Tundra Woman's comment on this)

Anyone have any stalking stories to share? Apart from having packages left on my back porch (no doubt intended to guilt), cyber-stalking via flying monkeys (and probably directly by them as well), and the 'surprise visits' to work and unexpected 'pop-ins' at home, I don't have anything especially juicy. I have fantastically creepy nightmares, but so far everything NM and EF have done in the real world has been fairly innocuous (and wouldn't appear criminal or suspicious unless you knew the back story).