As I've attempted to try to convey the overall flavor of my relationship with my sister leading up to the event that caused me to finally break away I have been struggling with something. A woman in the Adult Children of Narcissists group said something that put my struggle into words:

I have taken a lot but this is the final insult. It may be a little thing but this little mistake has pushed me into action. It may be a little thing to everyone else but it is a big thing to me. Not anyone knows what life has been like for me... There is no way I can describe to anyone what I have had to face each and every day of my life, what I've had to put up with, what I've had to cope with. So many times I was almost driven insane with everything that just didn't make any sense to me at all, but now it does. And I'm angry.
Emphasis mine. This woman is describing my experience as well as her own. Perhaps she is describing yours. People on the outside looking in are ill-equipped to lay judgment on your decisions to deal firmly with toxic family members, yet they do it anyway. The event that caused me to finally hold my mother to account wasn't cataclysmic. At least, it wouldn't seem to be if I described it to someone who didn't know my mother or me or the many years of similar offenses. It wouldn't seem all that BIG to an outsider. For me, it was huge. It was the moment that defined all the other moments. It opened my eyes. It clarified the issues. But I knew that I would have a very hard time convincing someone who didn't know the fabric of my life with my mother that her behavior on that particular day was evil. So I have only talked to those family members who know me and my mother very well and two close friends. One of those friends had quite a bit of personal experience with my mother and knew before I did that my mother was an evil, scary bitch. The other friend had a brief encounter with my mother, but it was enough for her to "get" that my mother was seriously screwed up.

I have even more of a problem when trying to describe my life with my sister with people who weren't there. The event that caused me to cut off all contact with her may seem trivial to many. I run the risk of the criticizers out there who are quick to judge what they don't know or really understand. Putting it out there on my blog hasn't been easy for me. I've been willing to share my story hoping it will be helpful to someone else. I also recognize it opens me up for criticism for my decisions or behavior with my sister. I guess, in the end, I've decided I don't care what critics say. No matter how well I tell my story it will fall far short of explaining the day to day realities I've experienced. So don't think you have the whole story just because I get to the end of telling it. I do have the advantage of time and separation and life experience to lend to my telling of this story which I know lends me a fair amount of objectivity. I am not immersed in strong feelings or unresolved issues that would prevent me from looking at how things happened from an adult stand-point. I hope you, the reader, can grant me the view that I have been as objective as possible as I have described my relationship with my sister. I hope the overall tone of my blog is such that you can discern an individual who has put much thought into things and is able to rise outside herself to look at things from another person's perspective and who is not bogged down in a soup of subjectiveness. This blog post is my preamble to telling the last events between my sister and myself. It was a "last straw".

With both my mother and my sister the last straw events that caused me to see with absolute clarity what I was dealing with were not huge in the way that would make front page news. No, that wasn't was made those events significant. What was significant was that the events contained the same fundamental elements of all the ones that came before. Nothing describes those events better than "the last straw". Unfortunately, people who are on the outside looking in will think you have over-reacted. Accusations that you are overly sensitive seem to gain credence because even you yourself can admit that it isn't the bigness of the event that caused you to react.

No, it was the sameness.

So, when I finally get around to describing the last straw event with my sister some of you will understand this principle. You will understand how what she did contained the fundamental dysfunction our relationship always was comprised of. I thought I had perceived change in her character and had been willing to over look the past. But when a person's behavior today is like their behavior yesteryear then you know that everything you over looked is still operational in your relationship. You've over looked a crime in progress. Yes, you are dealing with a career criminal. Both last straw events...the one with my mother and the one with my sister...were revelatory to me because of their sameness with past events.

Those of you who were tipped over into reality by a last straw event please know that it is perfectly okay that you reacted strongly to an event that others would tend to classify as trivial. It doesn't matter what they think. What matters is what you know. The fact that it took you this long to experience a "last straw" moment is a testament to your patience. Justice has been long averted because you've not been willing to seek it. If some event finally convinces you to allow the law of natural consequences to work then good. It needed to happen. The fact that you've put up with the malignant narcissist so long is proof they will never change. A million "do-overs" will not finally result in the malignant narcissist suddenly getting it right.

This all means if there is to be any change it has to start and end with you. You can't change their hearts or their behavior. You can change your behavior and start to implement changes in your circumstances. If your life is to be any different tomorrow than it was yesterday you will have to take control of it.

Those of us who've experienced last straw moments are greatly blessed. Blessed to finally have the moral certitude and resolution to not take their shit anymore. Blessed to finally be able to escape the crooked reality of the narcissist.

"The straw that breaks the camel's back" is the saying. Remember, the term "last straw" itself makes it clear that the event wasn't a big one. A straw is insignificant itself. In the camel's case, that last straw became extremely significant because its tiny weight was added to the tiny weight of millions of other straws. The "last straw" is significant because of its sameness piled on with a million of its kind. Keep that in mind the next time someone tries to trivialize your finally reaching your limit after a "last straw" moment. It isn't the bigness of the event, it is the sameness. We all have our limits.

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