The date she was pronounced dead was May 9, 2008. The certificate indicates her body "was found 24 or more hours after death" in her own home. The coroner certifies that, in their opinion, her death was due to natural causes. The box for indicating the "actual or estimated date of death" is marked "Unknown". Box 19a is for "Informant's Name". Kathy's sister name is in that box. So, I guess we can assume it was her sister who found Kathy's body. The sister's physical address does prove she lived across the street from Kathy.
It can be concluded that the experts believe Kathy died of natural causes and not of foul play. It can also be concluded she was not found for some considerable time after her death. Likely it was a couple of weeks when we consider her last blog post was April 15, 2008. She approved comments for her last post for what looks like could have been four days following her last post. Given she was blogging regularly every day or every few days for months, I think we can assume she probably passed away almost a week after her last posting.
I hope this information is helpful for all who are trying to make sense of her tragically sudden passing.
Those of us who know Kathy's work feel the loss very deeply. She has been a clear, compassionate voice for those abused by malignant narcissists. She cut no quarter for the abusers. Her intelligence, breadth of knowledge of her subject, her teaching ability, her scientific mind, her humor, her compassion are seen throughout all her writings. It would be impossible to measure the amount of help and good she has been to people around the world.
I was recently contacted by Barbara who owns the blog "Sanctuary for the Abused". She was a "net friend" of Kathy's and had a warm email relationship with her. Barbara voiced a concern to me that I had been pondering too. What will happen to Kathy's blog? Kathy's main website is available in book form which will help keep it in circulation in the years to come, although I am uncertain about the fate of the main site as well. The outcome of the blog is less certain. Barbara is willing to spend the time going through Kathy's blog archives to pull out articles to re-post on her two blogs with full attribution to Kathy, of course. Barbara has asked me if I will help her with this project. I am more than happy to help as I have been concerned about the loss of Kathy's work.
If any of you have any other suggestions as to how to approach this, please comment.
Barbara posted a memoriam on her site for those of you who may not have gotten the sad news of Kathy's passing before now.
A true heroine has laid down her sword. I pray the Lord will continue to richly bless her work to the benefit of humanity.
Many offenders are fond of saying, “But I didn’t mean it that way” or “I never meant for that to happen” . BUT INTENT IS NOT THE ISSUE. RESULTS ARE...
...Everybody makes mistakes. Where most of us begin to lose our patience is with those who never LEARN from their “mistakes”- this tells us that these are not really “mistakes” at all, but rather ongoing patterns of behavior. If something is truly accidental or inadvertent, an accountable adult has no problem sincerely apologizing, doing whatever he can to fix the situation, and moving on. Mature adults do not have a problem apologizing for errors in judgment, or innocent mistakes that caused harm to others. There is no guilt or shame attached to a truly unintentional offense.
Those who feel guilty and ashamed avoid taking responsibility. One who did wrong deliberately, selfishly, or with malicious intent will be ashamed when she is caught or confronted, so she will not admit what she did. She will try to hide it, make excuses, or in some way weasel out of being accountable for her own behavior. She will be angry and flustered at being caught when she thought she was getting away with it. She will not admit she was wrong, she will not sincerely apologize, and she will not try to rectify the damage she did.
The reason guilt or shame is felt is that, despite what the offender might say, her words or actions WERE INTENTIONAL, or at the very least, SELFISH. One way or the other, she knew what she was doing and the effects it might have, but she decided to do it anyway, and hope for the best. Otherwise she would have nothing to feel guilty about and no problem acting in a responsible manner and making amends. Her ego would not be at stake, and she would not react with the shame of someone who was “caught” doing wrong. One who feels guilty or ashamed will lie, deny, cover-up, blame others- anything but admit that she was wrong and take responsibility for her own words or actions.
Someone who is not ashamed of herself has no reason to deny or lie about what she did. She will acknowledge her actions, apologize for the pain she caused EVEN THOUGH SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO, admit she was wrong, used poor judgment, or made a mistake, do everything she can to make restitution, and NOT REPEAT the same offense in the future. She may feel embarrassed about her actions, but she will not feel the shame that leads to covering them up. And she understands that failure to take responsibility would be an even greater reason to be embarrassed.
It is the essay titled, "Selective Amnesia". Ha. You can see why I went there given recent events. Here are a few pull quotes:
When your abuser claims to have no idea what he did wrong, HE IS LYING. He knows perfectly well what he did. He will try this ploy even if you have told him point blank and in no uncertain terms exactly what he did wrong, argued with him and protested his mistreatment for years, and repeated your complaints dozens of times. And yes, even if you have written him a detailed, 10-page letter listing a few decades worth of examples, which he has no doubt read a couple of hundred times. He has seen your distress every time he hurt you. In fact, that was his reward for hurting you and the reason he continued to hurt you. Because he loved knowing he COULD....There is no way he does not know what he did. That is a lie. He only has Selective Amnesia because it serves his purposes to conveniently “forget”.
I laughed out loud at the "10-page letter" remark since that is how long my letter to sister was.
How do you list 50 years of abuse? How do you put it into words? Abusers want to know “what they did wrong” as if it was merely one or two incidents, that could be discussed and settled in a few minutes. But it’s not. It’s a LIFETIME of incidents, 20, 30, 50 or more years; hundreds, if not thousands, of times. It’s overwhelming. It’s not one or two obnoxious behaviors or hurtful episodes. It’s a PATTERN of ongoing, continuous, unrelenting evil. It just never ends, until we leave.
Touche. For me it was more like 40 years, but that is a damn long time by any measure. A lifetime of incidents. It is overwhelming.
This next part says something I have felt but haven't had the heart to say it this bluntly to my sister. I was tempted to say something along this line in my last letter, but I held back. Can you believe I still don't want to gratuitously hurt her feelings? Just in case I'm wrong about her, I still sometimes hold things back. I hadn't thought it out as well as it is articulated below. Had I gotten it this well formed in my mind I very well may have said something to this effect:
The problem with trying to explain to our abuser why we divorced her is that it’s not so much what she DID, it’s WHO SHE IS. Or rather, WHAT SHE IS. With an abuser, it is NOT any one incident. It is not just her behavior, IT IS HER. It is the kind of person she is that we don’t want to have anything to do with. Abusers are evil, wicked, demonic people. Their behavior is merely an outward sign, a manifestation of the condition of their souls and the shriveled up, dead black heart within them.
The reason we stay away is that we have finally seen this. It’s our abuser’s whole persona that keeps us away, not any one incident or behavior. It’s EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM. It’s his personality, his character, his unrighteousness, his whole evil being. It’s not just this thing or that thing or any of the things he does, it’s HIM!
It would be more accurate to list her personality traits rather than her behaviors as the reason we disowned her. Imagine telling our abuser the truth- that we refuse contact with her because she IS nasty, cunning, spiteful, manipulative, belligerent, treacherous, critical, lying, untruthful, bullying, conniving, deceitful, sneaky, trouble-making, jealous, sabotaging, envious, bitter, sadistic, malicious, selfish, narcissistic, hostile, dangerous, cruel, hateful, psychopathic, and abusive? That’s who she is. Who in their right mind would want someone like that in their life? What normal, healthy person would want to deal with this, or to expose themselves and their children to it?
Our revulsion, repulsion, and avoidance is a natural, normal, healthy reaction to exposure to evil. It is our God-given discernment setting off alarm bells in our heads and telling us to run for the hills. We left because we finally realized it was hopeless, and that changing these ingrained characteristics is impossible. Our abuser would have to change her very being, and that will never happen because she has no desire to. She left us no choice but to cut her off in order to protect ourselves and our families.
The only way we can lead healthy, happy lives is to stay away from such evil people. We don’t disown them because of one or two things they did. We disown them because they are unfit as people to have in our lives. [emphasis mine]
I appreciate the affirmation of this article since it is exactly what I'm up against right now.
After I eventually get at least five new posts up on the blog I will move my email to sister post into its proper order in the archives. I hope this doesn't seem complicated. It really isn't.
My email can be read here.
Click here for pic of me. I am posting it today because it captures my present mood. I'm hiding this in the archives cuz I don't want it showing up on the front page. I won't be able to handle the shock of seeing myself in living color when I go to my blog. Feel free to not comment.
I promised some weeks ago I'd put up a picture of myself at some point. I'm a woman of my word.
I have composed my reply to my sister's latest email. Haven't hit the 'send' button yet; I'm going to sometime today, I think. My email is loooooong. The end result of many hours of labor.
My husband said last night how my email is too long to post on my blog because no one will read it. "They'll be overwhelmed." sez he. I protested. I think at least some of you will read it. Prove me right, please. *big grin*
I'm going to post my sister's email today. That will give ya'll time to read it over and come up with your own impressions before I lay out the facts. I realize that many of you won't have the context of my history with my sister to inform your reading of her email. That's okay. By the time you read my response you'll know what's goin' on. If you're interested in the chronology of our last email exchange you would start here. Then you'd go here for the second part. There's more, but that would probably give you enough context to understand what is being discussed in her most recent email and my soon-to-be posted response.
I'll post my response to my sister's email after I get around to sending it to her. I'll probably put it up tomorrow.
Without further ado...here is sister dearest's attempt at reconciliation after a two year silence:
[time stamp on email is: Sat, 10 May 2008 22:05:38 -0700]
Much time has passed since our last communication and I hope you are well. I know you have moved to XXXXX for [husband's] work and I hope you like it there.
It has been heavy on my heart all these years that I have offended you. The thought of you hurting because of something I have done is a terrible thing. There is no doubt in my mind that I did something which caused this, but time has not helped me bring about a revelation of the event. I do so wish you would tell me so I could offer you a specific apology directed to the specific pain I have caused you. I would also like to know if there is anything I can do to make up for this offense.
I know it has been a lifelong struggle for you to love and understand me. We have such varied perspectives on life. I know I have always stepped unaware on your sensitive spots and caused you much pain. I am so sorry for that. I hope you can believe that most of the pain I have caused you has been unintentional.
There were a few things you said to me that I have spent much time thinking about. I saw there was truth in it and I wanted to really give it my complete attention. You talked about my need for you to respond in a certain way for me to really feel validated. This made you feel contrived and manipulated. I can see that. I am so sorry that I did this to you. Not only you, but others close to me in my life. I struggled with this reveal of my character for many months before I realized it was a matter of surrender to God. What you identified was real and needed uprooting but no amount of my own effort was going to be able to remove it from my life. It was a spiritual matter that only God could address for any lasting success.
Which leads me to the most profound truth you shared with me. You grew tired of me talking about my damages from childhood and asked me if I had so much knowledge...why was I so stuck (D's paraphrase). Good question and one I could not in all integrity ignore. So again I asked God what was up. I learned from Him that going back to the places of pain, the roots of weak character, is only the beginning. It is the starting point, not the completion of the work which needs to be completed. Knowing these roots is essential for surrendering them to God who is the only one who can heal and restore my character. He was showing me these things not so they could be my "truth", but so I could give them to Him for healing. Needless to say, this has been a process. But thanks be to God, "He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it."
Does she have you convinced she is sincere? That I'm just being a hard-ass? Maybe she is and I am.
From my insider's point of view, though, it is the other way around.
I say yes and no. It depends. Maybe.
You may or may not have noticed my lack of dogmatism on this point if you have read much here. That is because it really depends on circumstances and personalities as to whether or not it is a good idea to put pen to paper. It is a personal decision you have to make because only you can ascertain whether, in your circumstance, it is better to write or not write. You know the characters in your particular play. You know yourself. You get to decide.
The 'no letter' crowd are more vocal about their position. They have good reason to believe that it is an exercise in futility. A waste of time. It can hand ammo to the enemy. These are excellent points and you must carefully weigh them when making your decision.
You had better know your own mind very well before embarking on a letter writing course. If your thoughts are not crystallized, if they are not well-organized, if you are uncertain of your position; these are contraindications for writing a letter.
For my family and circumstances letter writing was the right plan. I am competent with the written word. There were many things that had never been said before and I wanted them out there. And I wanted to be able to say those things without interruption. I have the type of family members that I knew would read every word I wrote...and then re-read them. So even long letters were an option. If the narcissist you're dealing with has a short attention span then you would need to consider that fact. The most important aspect for me was having a record of everything. It was something I deeply felt I needed. I wanted a record of exactly what I said because my family members are big on revisionism. I wanted to be able to quote chapter and verse what I said so they couldn't get away with that. Just as important to me was having a written record of what they have said. This has been invaluable to me. Because my family are even more inclined to rewrite their own words.
My family members were highly confident of their ability to carry off their deceptions and sleight of hand tricks on paper as well as they are able to do face-to-face. Their confidence worked in my favor. My mother, my father and my sister in turn all began with great confidence. They were sure of their ability to pull one over in writing. Only too late did my mother recognize how the written word works against her. When I could hold her to her words and when I could prove she was twisting my words, she backed into her corner and quivered in fear. My sister isn't as smart as my mother, so sister dearest still has enough hubris to come at me again, after two years, in writing. She will likely regret her decision. My point is, narcissistically-driven people don't see how they reveal so much of themselves when they write things down. The written word is tangible. Solid. Grab-able. You can grab their words and hold them to it. Because it is written they are greatly hindered in their habit of taking back what they say. That worked beautifully in my situation. Because they are so unprincipled they contradict themselves or outright lie because they only have their eye on the outcome they are pursuing. Getting what they want from you. If you can get them to write down their responses to you then you are able to document their lies. Guaranteed. They talk, they write, they lie. It is nice to get those lies down in black and white.
I really believe that people know in their gut whether or not it is useful to write an kiss-off letter listing some of the reasons for saying bye-bye. I have no regrets for having written letters, kiss-off and otherwise. Those letters are invaluable to me. I have assembled a fat file filled with my letters and their responses. Forever and ever I have written proof of who they are. (I have redundant copies in various places to ensure they don't get lost.) They each in their turn completely revealed themselves on paper. I have all the proof I need that these people should not be in my life. In the early days when I could still have moments in insecurity about my decision to cut them off (particularly my mother) I could go back and re-read the letter exchanges. Those letters, both mine and theirs, contain proof. Proof that I did everything I could to try to persuade them to reason. Proof that I extended myself to the uttermost in order to attempt to save some kind of relationship. Proof that they rejected my efforts and would only agree to their own terms. Totally unacceptable terms. Unlivable terms that I had lived with for four decades.
Obviously, I am pro-letter under certain circumstances. But I am also very aware that with some narcissists it would be a complete waste of time. Or worse. When I wrote my letters I was extremely careful to not hand my family ammo to shoot me up with. I succeeded brilliantly with that. I didn't give them handles on my emotions. I was able to protect myself. If you are not confident you can do that with letters then it is best to not write. Yes, my mother showed my letters to those in her circle of sycophants to prove what an evil daughter I am. That doesn't matter to me. In my mind, if anyone could read my letters to my mother and still perceive me as being evil, then screw 'em. I don't need people like that around me. Their opinion is of no weight in my estimation. Mommy dearest showing my letters to people she was sure would support her is not, in my opinion, using my letters as ammo. No, what I'm talking about is whether or not my family could use my own words to prove to me that I'm a bad person. I said nothing to them that I want to take back. I said what I meant and meant what I said. And I didn't shoot below the belt. They can't guilt me with my own words. Also, I didn't dwell on or make a point of my negative feelings be it hurt, anger, frustration, etc. I kept on the subject of behavior. Theirs and mine. Stay away from describing how they hurt you. That is rich fodder for their future plans of annihilation of you. This is what I'm talking about when referring to using your words as ammo to shoot you up with. Do not tell them what makes you tick.
Did my family accept my arguments? Did they understand me? Hell, no. If you are writing a letter expecting those outcomes, then fugeddaboudit. In that sense, letters are a waste of your time. If you're writing a kiss-off letter, remember, they are for kissing them off. Not for persuasion. My letter writing was a bigger effort than kissing my family off. I started each letter writing campaign as an effort to try to do what I could to save some semblance of a relationship with them knowing that if I didn't achieve that outcome at least I would have proof to myself that I tried. Ultimately, I ended up with each of them in turn having to write that final letter closing off contact. But I think I've shown there are other outcomes you can be going for when writing a letter besides an expectation of gaining their understanding. In fact, you never approach a narcissist hoping they will gain insight or understanding from your words. That would just be stupid.
The last letter I wrote to my sister didn't definitively shut the door forever. I left a little ray of hope that someday I would contact her again to see if she had grown up yet. The reason I did that was because I was quite conflicted about blowing her off forever. She isn't an evil genius like my mother. Sister is very narcissistically driven, but I can't be sure she is a malignant narcissist. I can't be entirely sure because I have maintained a large emotional distance from her all my life because she was so consistently untrustworthy. She would pull out emotional knives at unpredictable junctures, so I learned to keep the emotional walls up with her very early on. I can't answer the question of whether or not she is predatory. It feels like she is with me, but I can't know if I'm the exception or the rule.
Because I didn't slam the door completely shut I am now faced with her latest attempt to persuade me she is changed. I am presently in the position of deciding whether to write or not write. I know it will only accomplish one thing if I do write her--she will leave me alone again. For awhile. I am inclined to write for that reason alone. Persuasion? Reconciliation? No, those will not be my objectives. Her email proves she in exactly the same place she was two years ago. Her so-called proofs that she is changed actually prove to me she is utterly unchanged. She is also playing games in her email. I want to call her on it really badly.
So, off I go to spend some considerable mental horse power deciding for sure whether I'll write...and if I do...what I'll say. That reminds me of one other reason to write. I start composing in my head and there is no stopping it until I get it out in writing and I say it just the way I think I need to say it. Only then can I stop the infernal persecution of composing at 4:00 a.m. when I would rather be sleeping. My private analysis of my sister's non-apology letter that I wrote in the week following my buh-bye letter to her was done for this reason. I never sent that analysis to her. Just getting it down in writing silenced the composer in me.
Anyway. Wish me luck.
I have been mulling over at least a couple topics to blog on over the last week. Haven't gotten to the point of putting the words down. Now I've been subjected to a mind flush. What happened? Late last night I checked my email just before heading off to bed and found a most unwelcome sight. An email from my sister.
She sends it on the eve of Mother's Day and doesn't even acknowledge that fact. It was a missive that shows she is still all wrapped up in herself. Thankfully, the effect of her email on me was minimal in terms of emotions. I read it...rolled my eyes multiple times...and went to bed. She didn't even disturb my sleep. A good sign. But, nevertheless, I have to decide where to go from here. Hence, the mind flush.
I will likely be posting her email here so ya'll can see it for yourself. Of course, it will not mean much to you if you haven't read my past posts on "My Sister". There are 23 posts under that label. If there is one post that best encapsulates my relationship with my sister ... especially as an adult... it is this one titled, "Are We Required to Keep a Sibling in Our Lives?" At the very least, you'll need to read that post to begin to "get" my sister's latest attempt to shoehorn herself back into my life.
I'm going off to enjoy Mother's Day by not thinking about my sister any more. She doesn't deserve my energies on this day. Best wishes to all of you out there who are loving mothers. I hope you find quiet joy and contentment with all the blessings being a good mother affords.
[obligatory icon credit]
I was asked in the comments of the last post for a list of kick-ass movies as a potential source of self-help therapy for those days you want to see a bad guy get hammered. I'll put a caveat emptor here. Everybody, do your own research on a movie. Imdb.com is a good place to do that. It's your own damn fault if you watch a movie and don't like it. Not mine. So don't complain to me if you end up watching something I recommend and you hate it. I'll try to warn ya on movies I think some may not appreciate as much as I do. I have a few twisted tastes in movies...so I'll try to keep that in mind. I'm making this a post since it is easier to put in links...and I can edit to correct errors if necessary.
It seems that the list of movies I've come up with fall into at least three different categories. (1) is the serious butt-kicking flick where the 'bad guy' gets it good usually after a lot of bullets, bombs and stuff blowing up. (2) the 'bad guy gets his comeuppance' movies which usually features less action but the bad guy definitely doesn't win in the end. The bad guy may not die, but definitely he loses what he was after. (3) a combination of one of the two themes above with a goodly dose of humor. I'm going to put a "1", "2", and/or "3" depending on what category I think a particular movie falls into. Here we go:
True Lies (1 & 3)
The Incredibles (1 & 3)
Princess Bride (2 & 3)
The Mummy (1 & 3)
The Mummy Returns (1 & 3)
Stardust (2 & 3)
Jesse Stone movies (2)
Ever After (2)
Spiderman 1 and 2 (1 & 3)
Alien 4 (1 & 3)
Man in the Iron Mask (2)
Count of Monte Cristo (2)
Mask of Zorro (1 & 2)
Speed (1 & 2)
Moll Flanders (2)
Bourne Identity and Supremacy (1)
24 TV series (1)
If you don't like violence then you probably shouldn't watch anything with a (1). If you don't like sci-fi with scary monsters then stay away from Alien series of movies. I like all the Alien movies of which there are four. But I think the best ones are the second and the fourth. There was quite a bit of humor in the fourth one, but that doesn't mean there wasn't lots of gross alien stuff and some gore. Joss Whedon helped write the script for the fourth movie and his humor was definitely there. Speaking of Joss Whedon reminds me of the tragedy known as the series "Firefly". That series was canceled after only one season and this is a crime. If you haven't seen the series, if you can conceptualize a sci-fi series with a western type feel to it (gotta see it to appreciate it), if you like very witty and humorous and smart writing and a uniquely told story...then watch the series. Lots and lots of bad guys getting their butts kicked. If you watch the series and LOVE it...which you will...then watch the movie Serenity. The movie wraps up the TV series. It pulls together some of the dangling strings left after the end of the TV series and you'll like it just as much as the series...if you liked the series. Husband just reminded me to tell you that the cast includes a high-class call girl. If this offends you, stay away. My husband is also freaking me out about recommending any of the Alien movies. Especially the fourth one. He agrees with me that, by far, the best of the series is the second one. The fourth one is a really iffy recommendation. The final half hour of the fourth one could be very disturbing for some. I became a fan of the movies after watching the second one back when it came out in 1986. So, in my more 'formative' years I formed a deep attachment to "Ellen Ripley". She kicks alien butt. So, naturally, I enjoy all the movies in the series. Including the fourth with its kinda gross and disturbing final scenes. Please, don't watch it if you are at all delicate in your movie tastes.
Underworld features vampires and werewolves. If you don't like creepy, scary creature effects and can't tolerate some gore then stay away. Not for everybody. The Mummy and The Mummy Returns also has some gross effects and/or scary effects. They are kind of campy movies, but high quality and lots of humor. 300 has a lot of violence, and there are three sensual scenes. You've been warned. There is featured a bigger-than-life narcissist who definitely loses in the end. The King of Persia. "Moll Flanders" is about a prostitute. So, yeah, there are some sensual scenes. There is another version of "Moll Flanders" that follows the book more closely, but it is a downer in the end (like the book). So I like the more Hollywood version where the main character ends well which is the one linked to above. I like happy endings. Who cares about the book. When someone rewrites fiction and makes it better I never complain.
The "24" TV series is not for you if you can't handle an occasional terrorist getting tortured. Jack Bauer is on a very tight schedule and if a terrorist ends up in his hands and Bauer is trying to save the world, well, the terrorist may get a bit roughed up. That totally works for me. Bad guys are very dispensable in my world view. Tough shit evil terrorist.
I only recently discovered the made-for-TV movies with Tom Selleck as the main character "Jesse Stone" based on the novels by Robert B. Parker. The first one is "Stone Cold". Selleck's character is a flawed but good man who has a knack for getting the sneaky bad guys. The movies are beautifully set in Maine. Made for TV but theater quality. There is some sensuality in some of these...but only a little.
There, now that I've told you more about myself than I really like to by my movie recommendations, hope you can find something you like on the list. Remember, butt-kicking movies means there is going to be violence throughout. If you can't handle violence then you aren't really into "butt-kicking" movies. Take responsibility for preserving your own sensibilities. There is no accounting for "taste", as they say, so just cuz you like my blog doesn't mean you'll like all the movies I do.
Speaking of movie tastes...I watched a movie based on a radio talk show host's recommendation last year. This host had recommended movies and TV series before that I have really liked. I watched this particular movie with growing horror. (It is so bad I don't even want to admit I've seen it and therefore am not naming it.) I absolutely, totally and completely hated and reviled the movie! I was shocked and annoyed because I couldn't come up with one redeeming feature of the movie. There was a definite disconnect between this host's tastes and mine on that one. Good grief. It took me about two weeks to not feel annoyed at this host for such a crappy recommendation. This person didn't even warn that some might not like the movie or name any of its objectionable themes. Which is why I'm trying to give you some idea of what the movies are about so you can avoid the ones that might offend you. I feel I'm taking a real risk offending people by recommending movies that I think have some interesting, redeeming or satisfying aspects...cuz you may see it very differently. By the way, it was my own damn fault in the end. I should have done more research instead of going solely by this person's recommendation. I truly was mostly annoyed at myself.
The over-arching and unifying theme of most of these movies is justice. Like many of you, I've seen precious little real justice dished out to the 'bad guys' in my life. That is usually the way of life. So, I like seeing the baddies going down...and going down hard...in movies. It satisfies a part of my mind that dearly desires justice. If not pure justice, then at least the decent folks getting some kind of justice. If not that, then at least escaping the predations of the bad guys. It is very American to want justice...so I'm sure it is a cultural thing too.
Sheesh. I'm getting carried away trying to protect ya'll from my movie opinions. I'll stop now. You're all grown-ups. You'll probably survive my movie picks. Holding my breath and crossing my fingers I'll hit the publish button. eeeeekkkkk!
P.S. If you've seen any of the movies I've listed and loved or hated them, feel free to write your reviews for the benefit of others. Just, please, be kind to your friendly blogger in the process. I feel like I'm putting myself out there and ain't anxious to get my necked chopped at. T'wouldn't be nice since I'm only trying to give the peeps what they've asked fer!!
[Icon is Mal from "Firefly"]
It turns out that the two people who knew me least were the ones telling me how I felt and how I thought. Isn't that the way it usually goes? It is ridiculous how often even a stranger will presume to tell you your own mind. I finally caught on to the fact that these two women didn't know me as I approached my forties. It became more and more clear to me that these two women knew so little about me as a person that it was completely laughable that they could think to tell me my own mind.
With narcissists, what suffices as knowledge of you is that they have learned a few of your buttons. With a little trial and error they have divined how to get you to jump when they say jump. This is what they use to pretend to themselves, and to you, that they know you better than you know yourself. They have summarily decided that because they can manipulate you with a few of your fears, or with your decency, they know who you are as a person. Unless you are simply a construct of a few base fears...this can't possibly be true.
Humans tend toward considerable complexity. Well, at least, normal humans do. Narcissists are different in this regard. In case you haven't already noticed it, narcissists are very predictable and basic. Nevertheless, each narcissist believes they are supremely unique and, therefore, just supreme. Part of what makes them 'supreme' in their opinion is that they reject the feeling side of themselves. Feelings are 'weak'. Thus begins the process of pretending away their feelings. Denying their existence. To reject the feeling side of one's humanity is going to render you a two-dimensional being. We see this in narcissists. No depth. No humanity. Any complexity they have achieved is simply due to all the lies they construct around themselves.
People too often agree with the narcissist that we are "weak" when we show our emotions, or when we let ourselves feel our emotions. This is a very significant thing that separates us from the narcissist: allowing ourselves to feel our emotions--especially the really big scary emotions. It is because the narcissist refuses to feel his emotions that he has to start pretending his way through life. He pretends to NOT feel what he feels. In pushing away his feelings he loses track of why he behaves like he does. He doesn't see cause and effect. Much of the time he ends up projecting onto you what he is feeling. This allows him to pretend those feelings are outside of himself...and then he attacks those feelings after he lays them onto you. It is safe that way. Introspection and accountability must be avoided at all costs because he is desperately fearful of really knowing who he is. I don't blame him for that...he is a vile creature by now and would have a terribly costly price to pay to own up for what he has done throughout his life.
Feelings are not good or bad in a moral sense. They just are. It is what we do with them that enters the moral sphere. We are accountable for our behaviors. What I have noticed after having lived this long is how often people are ready to instantly condemn you if you feel angry. Anger is one of those emotions considered to be always wrong in many people's estimation. They don't say this outright, but it comes out in how they address you and your anger. You need to get past it. You need to forgive. You need to forget about it. Move on. Etcetera ad nauseum. Never mind that your anger is an appropriate reaction to a gross injustice. Get over it. Why? Because they are uncomfortable with it? How narcissistic of them.
I've talked before about emotions vs. behaviors and how, no matter what our emotions are, we must behave in a moral way. Being angry is not justification for doing wrong by someone else. I am trying to get to something else so I won't go into more detail on this aspect.
What I want to get to is how do you know if you are in a healthy place in your head? How do you know, for yourself, that you are not letting your anger ruin your life?
You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist. They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of 'healing' if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage. People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get. Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist--pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I'm not going there for anyone.
What is a much more accurate measurement of your emotional health than whether or not the outrageous acts of a narcissist can cause you to feel appropriate outrage? Ready?
How do you know if you have come to a place of acceptance?
Acceptance means you have stopped fighting a situation. You have stopped holding to any other alternatives as options.
As for me. I came to a total acceptance of who my mother is going on six years ago now. And, later, of who my sister is and who my father is. I stopped fighting the situation. I stopped believing that they would ever change and treat me fairly. I stopped believing they would stop abusing me. With my acceptance of who they are and what the situation was I was enabled to make better choices. I stopped making decisions based on baseless hope and their faithless promises. I have proven that I've completely accepted reality...which includes the reality of who these people are...by the fact that I've stopped fighting the situation. Nothing proves my acceptance of who they are more than going no contact and maintaining that no contact with no exceptions. I have proven by my behavior where my head is at. I recognize who these people are and that by staying in their lives they could continue to use and abuse me and my family. I therefore resolved on the only course that remained. Removing me and mine from their influence.
If you can allow yourself to admit when another person is dangerous or destructive...then accepting they are what they are is essential if you are going to ever be able to protect yourself from them.
The content of this blog is designed to highlight and underscore what the narcissist is...and what they always will be. If you can come to the point where you see that what is will always be...then you will stop fighting. The savior complex is a demonstration of the non-acceptance of whom the narcissist chooses to be. It is a form of fighting for the reality you want rather than what is. Staying in the 'mob family' with the narcissist as mob boss is another way we refuse to accept what is really going on. Pretending the narcissist can't cause you material as well as emotional and mental harm is a denial of truth. A non-acceptance of what is. I can accurately sum up this blog as my attempt to help others come to the same place of acceptance that I have come to regarding NPD. I outline the various ways I got there in my head.
Accepting reality is the touchstone of mental health.
Consider this. How easy would it be for me to portray myself here as having reached a place of perfect equanimity? How easy would it be for me to not punctuate my writing with words that betray my outrage at evil? Really easy.
I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with 'evil personality disorder' I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I'll explain why as I go.
It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly. I'm sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly 'healed' from my past. I'm not going for any silly little awards like that because I don't believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it...I'm all about being real here.
Here's how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you've endured. When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you've endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage. To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat's ass about you. I do give a rat's ass. Which most of you 'get' when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them. You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice...surely I would give you the same latitude.
You get to hold onto some of your anger when you hang out here at my blog. I tell you that the anger can be good and constructive if you allow it to motivate you to make smart changes in your life. Anger is just a feeling. It can be destructive or constructive. It all depends on what you do with it. Anger is pain. It indicates that something is wrong in your environment. It is a powerful catalyst. It can either catalyze you to correct the problem...or to compound it. It is the emotional equivalent to resting your hand on a burning hot stove. Your reaction to your hand getting incinerated causes you to react immediately by pulling your hand from the source of the pain. You yelp and pull back. An appropriate reaction to getting burned. Your anger is a useful tool to help you stay away from the burning flame.
What if you have leprosy? What will your reaction to that hot stove be? Non existent. You won't feel a thing. Therefore, you'll lose your hand because you didn't have the ability to know you're getting burned. Think of the leper when someone tells you to get over your anger. Don't let someone convince you must turn yourself into an emotional leper in order to consider yourself "healed" from the abuses of the narcissist. It is important to let yourself feel your anger so you can keep from further injury. Your anger, if recognized and acknowledged, can inform you that you're in some kind of danger or some circumstance that must be corrected. If you remove the feeling part of yourself you will be guaranteed to start losing important parts of yourself. Children born with congenital analgia can't feel pain. The terrible injuries to their little bodies start occurring very early. Their tongues get chewed into hamburger because they can't feel it. They often lose one or both eyes. It is a terrible thing to never feel pain. Don't anesthetize yourself. It is never healthy.
Some memories will always be associated with a feeling of anger. I think that is a good thing. It is what helps us remember that the stove is hot. To have to burn ones hand once is bad enough. What a tragedy it would be if we couldn't allow ourselves to remember the pain of touching a hot stove. To have to touch it again and again...re-injuring ourselves again and again...how sad would that be? The scar tissue would build up and up until our hand was deformed. Retaining at least some level of outrage at the outrageousness of the narcissist can help us remember to stay away, to protect ourselves and those we love. Narcissists would love nothing more than that we erase our feelings of anger and outrage so they can re-perpetrate their crimes against us. In fact, the narcissists I know demand their victims forget the past. What they are really demanding is that we forget our appropriately negative reactions to being used and abused. So, hang onto a bit of that anger so you'll remember to leave these persons alone. Otherwise, you will get burned. Again. To stick around for continual burns by these people only scars you more; it deforms you. If you want to guarantee that you'll never truly heal...then lose your anger and keep the monsters close.
Am I advocating stewing in your anger? No, not at all. Do I stew in anger? Not at all. I have used my anger constructively to make very positive changes in my life. Because I've gone no contact with the family narcissists and their accomplices I have stopped them from continuing their crimes. Without the continual assaults--fresh memories are not being made. (Fresh memories revive old ones.) No contact has allowed the past to fade from my view. My feelings are calm; I have peace. Most of the time I don't think about these people at all. I have a full and rewarding life that occupies my mental, emotional and physical energies. The exception to not thinking about my family of origin is when I blog. For the sake of others who don't know yet how to escape from the predations of family narcissists I will sit down and remember. I will relive past experiences. I will, as I write, sometimes feel anger. Is it the white hot hate and flames of rage that engulf me? Oh, no. Nothing that dramatic. Mostly I feel outrage at the injustice. I have lived most of my life not allowing myself to be outraged at the gross injustices and abuses I have endured. So I let myself feel that outrage when I remember. And because I'm not afraid of that feeling...I feel it...and it passes. In the meantime, I use that feeling constructively by trying to frame words here on my blog for others to read and hopefully be helped by.
Don't condemn yourself for your anger unless you are using your anger to justify hurting someone else. Then damn yourself all to hell. That is always wrong. But to feel anger at the predatory, evil and cruel acts of the narcissist is healthy if you use it to catalyze yourself to make smart decisions for the future. Occasionally being reminded of your anger at these things helps keep you safe. And it helps keep you smart.
Should I ever be perfectly calm when I am staring into the face of evil and injustice? Not if I give a flying fig about humanity. Because I care about others I will never completely relinquish my outrage and anger at evil.
The day I give up my passionate hatred of evil, the day I quit feeling outrage at the outrageous, is the day I quit caring about my fellow man. So be thankful when you sense my anger and outrage. It proves I give a damn.