Forgiveness and the Narcissist

Here is a short video from my YouTube Channel. If you like it you may like the others:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF7HO62Ol-laN6cj6vlkiOA

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

http://www.julieharrison.ca/family/personal-style-sacrificed-at-the-altar-of-family/http://www.julieharrison.ca/family/personal-style-sacrificed-at-the-altar-of-family/

Once again, my sister Vicki and I found ourselves without food in the house. The difference this time was that we knew where there was food. My parents owned a tent-trailer. The shell of the trailer was made up of metal. When open, the top of the shell became the roof. It was held up by four folding poles that could be locked into a vertical position. When the roof was up, the width of the tent trailer could be expanded by opening two tent pieces that housed a bed on either side of the body of the tent trailer.

My parents would take us camping at a beautiful campsite, across the river, in the US. Originally we had a large tent and later we got this new tent trailer that seemed so much more modern and convenient. Once my parents had set up camp, my sister and I would be left at the site while our parents travelled back and forth across the international bridge to work and whatever else they felt like doing. I have very little memory of them being at these campsites because they would often leave and not come back until the evening.

At the beginning of each camping trip, we would drive to a grocery store near the campsite and buy all of the food that we needed. I remember Mogen David wine, frozen hash browns, eggs, milk, bacon and little individual servings of cereal housed in their own boxes. These boxes could be opened at the top along perforations and be used as bowls, but I digress.

We would buy so much food that it would overwhelm the small fridge in the trailer, but there would be good eating for a few days. Now we were home and there was no food in the house.

I know my mother was out drinking because I managed to get her on the phone. She explained that she was not coming home soon. Vicki and I both knew that there was food still left in the refrigerator of the tent trailer, but it was now closed and in the yard. We had witnessed the mechanics of how the lid of the trailer was raised and thought that it was worthwhile to try to open it ourselves.

The problem was that we were simply not strong enough to lift the top of the shell by ourselves. Driven by determination and hunger, we both did our best to push the top up. We discussed the fact that it did not have to go all of the way up for us to get into the fridge and get some food out. So we both used all of our strength to lift the lid.

Problem was, we got it up enough to unfold the poles and then our strength ran out. The lid came down and Vicki’s hand was caught in the fold of the poles. She screamed and I was worried that the weight would sever her fingers from her hand. I panicked and used all of my strength to re-lift the top. Vicki removed her hand and we both fell to the ground crying. It wasn’t worth risking another try.

I don’t remember how severely my sister’s hand was hurt. I know that she did not lose any fingers for sure. The trouble was, even though her hand was going to heal eventually, we still had been unable to get to the food and there was no telling when a parent would be home.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Grey Rocking a Narcissist

You know you are going to encounter them during the holidays. Here is a little refresher video to help you circumvent the drama when you see them. This technique can be used to keep calm and out of the line of fire.

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

IMG_1207I saw him swerve and stop and get off of his bike. He was a little ahead of me as we were biking down the highway, the only road that we could take to get to his parent’s place. Now, there is a “rails to trails” path that goes along this route that would’ve been nice at the time, but on the day we were travelling, we were right on the highway.

This incident occurred a considerable distance from our apartment. His parent’s place is a full 45-minute drive and we were two thirds of the way, but we had ridden our bikes. We had spent a lot of the summer biking around. Our trips had included biking to my hometown, to a wedding and up to see nicer scenery north of where we lived.

It appealed to him because we were doing something that he could brag about. We didn’t just bike; we biked 120 miles (200 km) in one day. We were adventurers; we were out there doing things other people could only imagine.

I enjoyed biking and being out on the road with just some equipment and my bike. This was something that I would do again. But, at the time, I didn’t realize why it was so important to do it in the shortest time possible and to only break if absolutely necessary. Now I know. It is all about bragging rights. If you are going to do something, specifically so that you can tell others that you have done it, it must be exceptional.

Now we were in trouble. The fork had broken off of the front of his bike. Two forks are necessary to hold the wheel in place and the right one had bent to the right and snapped off. We were just outside of a city and a significant distance from his parent’s place. This happened before everyone had a cell phone; so even calling someone would mean moving a bike, on one wheel, a considerable distance until we could get to a phone.

We were essentially stranded. After a few minutes of examining this fork and thinking about the laws of physics, yes physics — forgive me but I’m a scientist at heart — I realized that the pressure on the fork was down. In other words, it only had to have strength in one direction. In order for the fork to support the body of the bike and hold the wheel, it did not have to have sideways support. It had broken to the side. It did not need any strength in this direction.

What the fork needed was to be kept in alignment. If I could keep the top and bottom part of the fork lined up, the force down could be applied and it would be supported by metal on metal. There did not need to be a lot of strength sideways.

I found an appropriate sized piece of wood and rammed it into the fork and rammed the broken piece onto the other end of it. This perfectly aligned the two pieces so that pressure could be applied to the fork by the tire below and the handles above. He reassembled the wheel and we made it successfully to his parents’ place. I was thrilled. It is very exciting for me to come up with an innovative solution to a problem.

Every time I said something to him about it he brushed it off as obvious and not worth mentioning. When I tried to tell this story to friends or family he was interruptive and down played the significance. He never said that it was a good idea and just made it seem like this was so obvious that I was childish wanting recognition for it.

Now I know that he did not want to tell this story because he was not the star. There was a solution at hand and he didn’t find it. It hurt my feelings that day and for a few weeks afterwards, but I had no way of knowing that it was just a symptom of a larger problem and that I wouldn’t get credit for doing anything — ever…

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

IMGP4598Tomato red pants were the only thing that we could find given the parameters of our shopping trip. We were in a hurry. There were things that my mother would rather be doing. Unfortunately for her, I was not yet capable of going shopping for myself.

I had been wearing the same pair of pants to school everyday for as long as I can remember. This is a pattern that lasted until I went to high school and got my own job and my own money. At that point, I could buy my own clothing and dress however I could afford. I was not there yet.

I was about ten or eleven years of age and the demands of having children were just too inconvenient for my mother. Clothing shopping, well any shopping for that matter, was just not her idea of a good time, so she did as little as possible. When she did shop, she would let us know how expensive we were and how inconvenient we were, but I digress.

On this particular day she had other plans. She always had other plans. I had ripped the only pair of pants that I had. I probably had outgrown them. But, I had ripped them to the point that I could no longer wear them. My mother had been angry. First, she was angry because I had ruined my clothing. Second she was angry because now she had to take me shopping. Third, she was angry because buying me clothing was going to be expensive and finally she was angry because, as she let us know, she would’ve been an opera singer if she had not had children.

So we had hurriedly gone shopping. There was not enough time allotted for us to go to several stores and the department store that we were in did not have a lot of selection in my size. In hind sight, this is hard to believe and I now wonder whether or not she was trying to buy from the children’s department only because they have less expensive items, but I have no way of knowing. If she was, I was probably at the high end and that would explain the limited selection.

Unfortunately for me, a red pair fit. They were hideous. They were unacceptable. They were purchased. I was concerned about going to school in these red pants. I did not want to be seen.

My mother said, “Your ass looks like a big red tomato in those pants.” Nice.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

I wrote my first book above, before I knew my mother was a narcissist.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

There were fifteen minutes left before the job interview. I knew that if I called a taxi right now, I would still be late. I only had enough time if he showed up immediately with the van. I hadn’t called a cab earlier because I had reminded him that I had an interview and asked him to come right home after his lecture. He said he would.

So, here I was, ready, dressed and starting to panic. I was almost finished my masters of science and I was actively looking for a job. One of my supervisors was working for a government agency that was a perfect fit for my degree. She was an accomplished woman that I had gotten to know a little during my studies and I thought that I would enjoy working for. She was highly respected and I had come across her name a disproportionate number of times while researching scientific papers for my research, so I knew that she would be good to work for.

Casually, or so I thought, she asked me to come by her office and discuss, next steps, as in, after my master’s. I took it to be a job interview, and she had insinuated that was what it was, but it also could’ve been a discussion about another advanced degree. In either case, it was a great opportunity. If you are pursued to do your PhD it is much more prestigious than if you have to go and try to find someone to supervise you.

It still feels murky, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It still feels murky, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I had agreed immediately. I knew that I could make it to the appointment. I was so excited that I came home and told him about it. It turned out that he had one lecture that afternoon, but there was plenty of time to come home and then I could take our only vehicle to the interview. We also had one preschooler at the time, so I needed to have someone to take her for the 45 minutes, or so, that I would be out of the house.

So, the clock was ticking. He had not come home. This was a time before cell phones, so I could not call him and remind him. I had no way of knowing where he was. I called his office and he had not been there. He had done it again. He found a way to undermine me.

I called to tell her that I would not be able to make the interview and I tried to set up another time. She realized that I would always be this unreliable. She knew him as well and probably already had some preconceived notions about me based on her knowledge of him, and she declined. I asked her what she wanted to discuss and she begged off of the call and said that she had to go. She said that it was not important.

When he arrived he said that he had forgotten and that he had gone to the beer store. This of course, did not account for the amount of time that he was missing. I was angry and he attacked. He pointed out that I could’ve made other arrangements. He said that it was my own fault for not getting to the interview on time. He let me know that I was being unreasonable and that I was “losing it”.

Ironically, this turned out to work in my favour. There was no longer any question that he was sabotaging me every time that he got a chance. When I defended my thesis, he did not even know it was happening and I didn’t tell him about the next job interview until after I had the job.

 

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

 

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

IMG_1299We were in a hurry. We had a lunch to attend. It wasn’t so much that time was tight as the fact that he was the one that called the shots. If he was going to get the most out of his day, doing anything for someone else was always inconvenient. We were on the highway on the way home from a lodge. He had been working at the lodge, giving a talk, and because it was such a scenic setting, it was decided that I would go along.

I had golfed with him once at the lodge and I found it too challenging for me. He had wanted to golf again, so we went out that morning. I had no intention of golfing, it simply would have taken too long, and I knew that we didn’t have enough time, so I travelled along in the golf cart. The problem was that when we were as far as possible from the clubhouse, I realized I needed to pee.

Now, this is not normally a huge problem on a golf course. There are large relatively private places where you can take care of things discretely. Unfortunately, the people managing the course seemed to be a little suspicious of two people going out onto the course and only one person paying for a game, so they kept sending people around to make sure that I was, in fact, just watching.

Each time that I left the golf cart and tried to move into an area of relative privacy, someone from the club would come by in a truck, on a golf cart or simply walk in our direction. It was not going to happen. I was not going to get a chance to pee.

When he was finished playing golf he asked me not to go into the club house for fear that it bring up questions of whether or not I had played. We were leaving the lodge right away and it was decided that we would stop along the highway. I was becoming somewhat impatient.

As I write this story, it gives me that tense feeling that I get watching movies when you see the person making mistake after mistake and you know for sure that they are digging themselves into a hole. You want to scream, “Don’t do that!” or “Pay attention!” Little did I know at the time, but I was giving him great power. He fed off of this feeling of being in control, of having someone that desperately needed him to do something for them. He started to abuse this power.

I did not recognize at the time that he was probably amused by all of this. I could see that there was a place to pull off ahead and I said something like, “There is a Tim Horton’s up here.” He drove by it. Now, this is a four lane, restricted access highway that we were on and rest stops and exits were not that common on this stretch of the road.

I got angry. He claimed that I had not been clear enough that I had wanted him to stop. Now, I was at the point where I wanted him to just pull off to the side of the road. I would take my luck on the embankment. He would not stop.” We are in a hurry.” “I may be late if we stop.” “They are expecting us for lunch.”

Then the attacks started. I should’ve used a washroom before we left the lodge. I should be clearer if I want him to pull over. I was stupid for leaving things until I was so desperate. My choices were quite limited. I was uncomfortable now to the point that I was starting to worry that I might damage my bladder. I could just pee on the front seat of the van, or anywhere else in the van.

He was smug. He was certain that he was right and that my demands were unreasonable. Then I started to scream at him. Now, he pointed out, I shouldn’t get so emotional; I was insane and acting foolishly. I knew that if I was forced to void my bladder in the van I would never live down the humiliation. I did not know, at the time, that this all made him feel superior, in control, powerful. I didn’t learn that until much later.

He did eventually pull over at a drive through and I popped out as soon as the van was moving slowly enough that I could escape. He taunted me for getting out when we were still so far from the building, but I could see that if he pulled into the drive through that there was not enough room on my side for the door to open and I would once again be trapped.

We arrived early for the lunch but I was completely frazzled. I’m sure he pointed out to people that I was just a little unstable, most of the time, and that he had just learned to deal with my mood swings.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

 

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

IMG_0640Vicki, my sister and I, were both in the hallway near the doorways to our bedrooms. I was sitting on the floor crying and upset and Vicki was way past upset. I could hear deep sobbing sounds coming from her. I was too distraught to offer very much comfort.

We were about 10 and 12 years of age and it was about suppertime, which is not accurate, because there was no dinner. We had both been hoping that this was one of the evenings that my mother would appear with leftovers from the Legion. She liked to volunteer at the Legion.

The Legion was a gathering place for people of her age. They would get together and play cards, listen to music, drink and sometimes dance. The building boasted a nice dining area and they would often put on meals for weddings, meetings and special occasions.

This was wonderful in our home. My mother did not cook. But these ladies at the legion could cook! They made mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, hams, beef, turkey, corn and every other type of vegetable that could be boiled until done. On many occasions, there would be so much food left over that they would send it home with the women that had helped serve and clean up. My mother would bring this fantastic food home — but not tonight.

She has just called. We were both hoping that she would show up instead, but she had not. The call had been to tell us that she might be bringing her boss home. This was the seventies and women generally did not work, but my mother did. This was one of her most recent jobs and she wanted to impress her boss.

She explained that she did not want him to think less of her because her house was a mess. It was important that she “look good” when he came around. The question of why her boss would be coming over to the house was never breached.

So we were distraught. Once again she had forgotten that as children we would require food. Well, that and some parenting. Instead, she had called to ask us to help her “look good”. Of course we would. We had no choice. Once we calmed down, we started to clean.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job