It's been awhile since I last posted about narcissism and yet it's a topic that is always on my mind. I think once you've had dealings with someone toxic enough to be called a narcissist, it can be very difficult to move on from that experience. I have actually been doing pretty well lately; though as Dr. Phil says, I have a bit of a "psychological sunburn". I can be hyper-sensitive to some things.
This morning, I saw this posted on my Facebook wall...
This morning, I saw this posted on my Facebook wall...
Unfortunately, seeing this brought Bill's and my shared experiences with ex stepson back in full living color.
I was suddenly reminded of that pathetic drama that erupted a few years ago, when Bill and I busted ex stepson as he was secretly getting a legal name change. As I have explained many times before, the name change was hurtful, but he had every right to do it. Indeed, now that we know what kind of a person he is, I think it's great that we no longer share a last name with ex stepson. His name never should have been changed in the first place, if only because he has a perfectly good father who is alive and well and should have had a relationship with him. He also should have been the one paying child support for him instead of Bill. But that's all water under the bridge now.
What was really shitty about what ex stepson did is that he was blatantly trying to get over. He was taking money from his former stepfather-- my husband, Bill-- when he was a 21 year old man. And as he was taking that money and calling Bill "Dad", he was secretly screwing him over. And then when he got busted, he accused Bill of invading his privacy. The whole thing was truly pathetic and shitty. He had plans to cast Bill off, but when he got caught (because he's an idiot and didn't understand that many court procedures are public records), he blamed Bill for busting him.
By ex stepson's "logic", Bill should have been pleased as punch to give his 21 year old former stepson $850 a month to be spent on whatever frivolous shit a 21 year old buys. I suspect a lot of that money literally went up in a thick haze of pot smoke. Indeed Bill should have been tickled pink that the young man even deigned to speak to him. What he did with the money was not Bill's affair, nor was it any of Bill's business that he was going to legally change his name while still referring to Bill as "Dad". Bill apparently had no business checking up on him, although one of the arguments the ex kids had as to why Bill was not a good father was that he didn't "care" about them.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about an episode of Intervention that got me really upset because it hit me right on my "psychological sunburn". Part of what upset me was the stank attitude of a fifteen year old girl, daughter of a severe alcoholic, who told her very sick mother that she had not "earned" the right to raise her. I reacted strongly to that, because it was the same entitled attitude delivered by Bill's former children. They think he doesn't "deserve" to have anything to do with them because they're too good for him.
Frankly, I'd agree with them, though not for their reasons. I think Bill deserves to be treated better than they're willing to treat him. If they can't treat him with anything but contempt and disdain, then no, he doesn't deserve to have anything to do with them. He deserves children who have been raised better and are less entitled. He deserves kids who have their heads pulled out of their asses. In short, Bill is too good for them.
Now, I know people may read this and think I'm wrong. They may think my attitude is hateful and I should have more empathy for these people. Some might be surprised to know that on a basic level, I do empathize. It must be hell to be raised by a narcissist. It must be horrible to grow up in a situation that is so full of hatred, turmoil, drama, and chaos that one's soul and capacity for kindness and empathy dies.
I don't know if narcissism is truly a sickness. The people who suffer from it don't seem to hurt much. It's like they are covered with spiritual callouses that slough off on occasion and prime them for rages. The people who really suffer from narcissism are not the narcissists, but the normal folks who have to be around them. Then, once you are exposed to a narcissist and escape their clutches, you become hyper-sensitive to it. I don't know about Bill, but I know my capacity for abuse is totally saturated now. I can't tolerate it anymore. So really, it's for the best that they don't come around.
Bill has trouble sleeping at night. I think he has trouble sleeping because he has a form of PTSD. When we first married, he used to have nightmares about his ex wife and kids. I think that has affected his sleep patterns so that he can't get enough rest. He's had a sleep study done and the results were that he has "poor sleep hygiene". That just means he doesn't sleep well. I was talking to him last night... complaining really, because it was a Friday night at 9:00pm and he was falling asleep. I'm still young and healthy enough that I'd like to enjoy Friday night and stay up past 9:00 or 10:00. And then it dawned on me. He doesn't sleep well because sleep brings on memories and nightmares of his past life. He wakes up and is unable to get back to sleep.
As we were talking about it, he suddenly collapsed into tears... great heaving sobs over what he's been through and what he's lost. I hugged him and tried to comfort him. When he apologized to me, I told him that I think it's good that he let out some of that emotion. Bill wouldn't be human if this stuff didn't affect him, even many years later. It's like his two beloved children died, but he doesn't get empathy from other people. Instead, many people think he's solely to blame for what happened because he happens to be male. The only thing he did wrong was get involved with a toxic narcissist in the first place. When Ex showed up at his apartment in Germany back in the late 80s with toddler aged former stepson in tow, Bill should have closed the door in her face. Instead, he did what he was brought up to do. He was kind to her. He fell for her flattery and her sob stories. And he didn't realize that he deserved better and would be much better off alone until he found someone more genuine and stable.
But again, this is all water under the bridge. His life is better now. So is mine. I'd like to get past this psychological sunburn I have. I think I have healed some, but there's still some healing to be done. And I have to make sure I am never exposed to that level of toxicity again so the burn doesn't get worse.