Friday, March 2, 2018

Shades of psycho... making sense of the weird...

Well... I guess it's about time I wrote more about my husband's former wife, the resident nutcase.  It's been awhile since I last ranted about her.  I haven't ranted about my husband's ex because there hasn't been a need to.  She mostly leaves us alone and her two kids with Bill are now legal adults.  The younger one... the one who had always seemed the most indoctrinated and hateful... has been talking to Bill for the past year or so.

I remember in November 2016, we were in Ireland enjoying our anniversary.  That's when Bill's younger daughter came back into the picture.  She showed up as a "person Bill might know" on Facebook.  At the time, I was livid.  Up until that point, she'd been nothing but very hostile to Bill and refused to speak to him or acknowledge him as her father.  I was angry because despite her having that apparently dismissive attitude, she was still intruding in our lives.  If they weren't interested in mending the rift, I wanted her and her sister to simply leave us alone.

In December of 2016, Bill tentatively reached out to his daughter.  That started them talking again.  It started with private Facebook messages, which became emails.  Recently, they started Skyping.  Last night, they had another Skype session.  With every new session, new information comes out.  If it weren't so tragic, it would almost be funny... almost like a very twisted episode of Three's Company, where the whole farce is built on the concept of misunderstandings and things taken out of context.

Last night, my husband's daughter proclaimed that her mother is mentally ill.  That's a pretty huge statement, in my opinion.  Of course, it's been obvious to me for years that Bill's ex wife isn't playing with a full deck.  A lot of the things I predicted and suspected about the situation were dead on.  A few things weren't.  Like, for instance, I was pretty sure my husband's younger daughter was the spawn of Satan.  But she's been showing Bill that she's got more of him in her than we realized and is actually a pretty decent person.  Or, at least that's how it appears at the moment.

Anyway, I heard a lot of the conversation.  Bill's "office" is right across the hall from our bedroom.  They were talking at bedtime and I was lying in bed, waiting for the Advil PM to kick in.  I heard him gently telling her about the very early years of her life, when Bill was working shifts in factories in Arkansas, trying to support his family and ex's sister and niece on a pittance.

Ex had this vision of what she wanted her life to be.  She wanted to achieve that vision at all costs and as soon as possible. She pressured Bill into making some very bad decisions.  She also made bad decisions without his input, forcing him to live with the aftermath.  For example, she talked him into buying a house that was in very poor condition because she liked the way it looked.  They bought the house.  Then, while Bill was away at an Army school, Ex bought furniture and landscaping, even though she wasn't working and Bill's Army gig was part time (he had joined the National Guard after leaving active duty in the mid 1990s).

When Bill protested Ex's decision to spend money they didn't have, Ex said she didn't want people thinking she was "trash" because she was poor.  She was a compulsive spender and bought all kinds of useless crap like Disney plates and Swiss Colony snacks.  She claimed that some of the crap she bought could be sold for a profit.  Naturally, that did not come to pass.

Things got to a point at which Bill could no longer drink the Kool-Aid.  That's when they finally split up and Ex waged her parental alienation campaign.  I was with Bill pretty much the whole time it was going on.  I met him online when he and his Ex were on the brink of divorce.  I met him in person about a year after they split up.  I'm beginning to think I studied social work and public health for a reason... and it wasn't to work in the field.  I think that study helped me to help Bill get through this mess.  If you're a believer of things happening for a reason, then it makes sense.  Not everyone subscribes to that viewpoint.  I've found, at least in my life, it seems to be true.  Or maybe that's just how I make sense of the weird.

So last night, Bill's daughter gave him some insight as to what it was like to grow up with Ex as her mother.  I'm pretty sure what Bill got was a G rated version of events.  More will undoubtedly come out if they keep talking.  But here's a not so quick and dirty list...

1.  When younger daughter was about ten, Ex was complaining about not having enough money for diapers.  Younger daughter and her older sister ended up giving their mother their birthday money-- about $20-- so she could buy diapers for their little sister.  This was a theme in their childhood.  Apparently, Ex pushed the child rearing duties of her two youngest kids to her older daughters.  She was either on her phone or in the hospital.  As an aside to this-- when ex stepson was still talking to Bill, he once told him a story about how Ex forced her daughters to give up their beds to a family in the church.  Apparently, that family needed the beds more than Ex's daughters did.

2.  Ex talked younger daughter and her older sister out of attending high school because it was "unnecessary".  She sold them on the idea of being homeschooled so they could get their GEDs and attend community college, earning associates degrees before they were 18.  Although the kids did all get their GEDs and apparently eventually went to college, none of them were degreed by the time they were 18.  It appears that Ex's claims of earning a master's degree were also bullshit, just as I suspected.

3.  The story Ex told the kids about why they moved to New Hampshire was that she had a job interview there.  The job fell through, but Ex decided to stay there anyway.  Personally, I suspect this story is largely bullshit.  The move to New Hampshire was bound to be very expensive and seemed a bit drastic.  My guess is that she left Arizona for more nefarious reasons.

4.  Ex tried to pressure her kids to stay near her in New Hampshire.   When younger daughter decided to move out west to go on a LDS mission and attend college, Ex apparently did her best to get her to change her mind.  Fortunately, younger daughter has a mind of her own and is evidently very resourceful.  It sounds to me like the LDS church wound up not being such a good weapon for Ex after all, because I think the church got her out of her mother's trap.

5.  When younger daughter decided to leave New Hampshire, Ex evidently attempted suicide and landed in the hospital.  I don't know the details about this, although Ex was hospitalized a few times for vague ailments when she and Bill were married.  In fact, her medical bills were one reason why they struggled financially.  My guess, by the way, is that Ex had no intention of killing herself.  This was a desperate and pathetic ploy for her to retain control.  Fortunately, it failed.

6.  Ex has no boundaries.  She sends younger daughter texts from other people's phones.  For that reason, younger daughter does not text her often, because she doesn't know whose phone her texts will end up on.  Also, Ex came out to see younger daughter and her new baby and spent the whole time on her phone rather than engaging with the baby or younger daughter's husband.

7.  Ex evidently found my blog and tried to use it to drive another wedge between Bill and his kids.  Since Bill essentially had no relationship with his kids, all it really would have done was piss them off.  Younger daughter apparently didn't take the bait and hasn't read this blog.  If she did read it and got upset, I would tell her that writing is my way of processing the weird.  I was justifiably angry with all of them and I have a right to express my feelings, just as she has a right to express hers.

8.  Younger daughter mentioned that her older sister apparently has Asperger Syndrome, but she doesn't think it's a severe case.  Personally, I don't believe that older sister has it at all.  She's eccentric and artistic, but I don't think that means she's on the autism spectrum.  I think Ex used it as a way to clip older sister's wings.  The reason I don't think older sister is on the spectrum is because when I met her for the one and only time, she seemed to have emotional intelligence and insight that I would not expect to see in someone on the spectrum.  The very first thing that child said to me when I met her was, "I'm sorry for the way I am."  I don't claim to know a lot about autism or Asperger Syndrome, but what I do know is that they usually lack empathy toward people in social interactions.  It would not be in character for someone with autism to realize that I might think they're "weird" or "antisocial", especially not at the age older daughter was at the time.  Also, when I told older daughter that I didn't have to get to know her all in one day, she visibly relaxed and was very relieved.  Again, I'm not an expert on Asperger Syndrome, but it's my understanding that that reaction would not be in character.  Also, Ex lies, twists things out of context, and exaggerates... CONSTANTLY.

9.  Ex pitted the kids against each other as they got older.  I overheard Bill explaining the term "triangulation" to his daughter.  It was a concept I had to explain to him early in our marriage.  Ex is a master of triangulation and, as I suspected, she was employing it with her kids to maintain control of them and be the focus of their attention.

10.  Ex never hit the kids, but did fly into rages.  She did hit Bill a few times and sexually assaulted him.  Ex also threatened to kick the kids out of the house.

11.  Ex is apparently worried that her current husband (#3) is going to predecease her, even though he's nine years younger than she is.  Apparently, he doesn't take care of himself.  Bill could relate, since he didn't take care of himself when he was married to Ex, either.  He was forced to take care of her, their kids, and other members of Ex's family.  Men don't tend to live as long as women do anyway, so I think Ex's prediction could come to pass.  For all I know, he might actually hope to die as a means of escaping her clutches.  She sucks people dry.  Younger daughter also refers to her mother and stepfather as "my mother and her husband."

12.  Younger daughter has realized that her mother and grandmother have perpetuated a toxic pattern.  She, apparently, does not want to repeat the pattern with her own family.  However, I think that her mind might have been blown after talking to Bill last night.  As she learns more of the truth about what happened in her family of origin, I predict she will become enraged.  Moreover, even though the church has apparently been a big help to her, I predict she will eventually learn the truth about Mormonism, too.  As she learns more, she may become very angry.  It could cause significant problems as she matures.  Ex, by the way, has apparently abandoned Mormonism... just as we suspected she would when it was no longer useful to her as a PAS tool.  Ex criticized younger daughter for being "self-righteous".  To her credit, younger daughter admits that she was very self-righteous before her mission.  The mission apparently brought her down a few pegs.

13.  Ex badgered the girls into changing their last names.  Younger daughter went along with it, realizing that she would eventually get married and change it anyway.  I still don't know if the adoption ever happened, but it sounds to me like my assessment that they simply changed their last names was dead on.  In other words, they are most likely still legally Bill's daughters, despite Ex's assurances that she was going to get her husband to adopt them once they turned 18.  Ex also tried to get ex stepson to change his last name to her current husband's.  He, quite understandably, refused.  He'd already been through the stupid name change rigamarole twice.

Phew... I'm sure I could write more, but this is already too long and probably too detailed.  There are only a few people who have been following this saga, so I mostly write this for them and for myself.  I don't expect a lot of people to understand this mess.  I mainly write about it to process it because it's some pretty fucked up stuff.  I also write it because I know there are others out there who have dealt with similar craziness.  They should know they aren't alone.

Bill told his daughter that he'd wanted to rescue them.  He just didn't see how he could do it.  It probably would have meant he'd lose his job.  And he probably would have lost the effort, anyway.  He still suffers with a lot of guilt and grief for not being able to help his kids more than just sending very generous child support money (which Ex evidently squandered to the point of taking birthday money from her kids).

Bill also told his daughter that if older daughter ever wants to talk to him, he's willing.  Having met her once, I have the feeling that if she did start talking to Bill, the barriers would collapse.  She was "afraid" of me before she met me, but then totally relaxed once she realized I wasn't a monster.  Of course, Ex has done her best to make me seem like a monster since that one meeting.  And maybe that's what I am... since I write about this stuff and Ex reads it and uses it.  But then, she uses everything she can to control and mindfuck anyone who crosses her path.

**For those who want a very revealing look at what it's like to grow up the child of a narcissistic mother, I encourage you to read this eerily accurate description.  The person who posted it is not the original author.  I first encountered this very insightful anonymous piece in 2007 and it's stuck in my head ever since then.  I think I will encourage Bill to pass it along to his daughter.  It might be helpful.

Anyway...  now that I've spewed all of this stuff, here are a couple of pretty sunrise pictures.  Maybe they will serve as a reminder that there is peace out there.  Life can be beautiful away from narcissistic nutjobs.  Happy Friday, everyone.


2 comments:

  1. I am glad his daughter is starting to get it. My daughter has reverted and is buying into her socipathic dad's lies, hook, line and sinker. It's heartbreaking.

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    1. Well... we'll see for how long. I'm afraid my experiences with Bill's kids have made me jaded and cynical. But it would be nice if she's as wholesome and enlightened as she appears at the moment. Really, I think she's just curious and she and her mom aren't getting along for a variety of reasons. I had a feeling this would eventually happen, since younger daughter has always had a mind of her own and Ex is a very manipulative and possessive person. Whether or not that will mean she'll embrace Bill remains to be seen. I think we have a long way to go, though, before the air is totally cleared.

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