My Favorite Boy

In my 20 years of church ministry, I participated in a lot of funerals and delivered several eulogies. The experience made me realize a couple of things; one being I don’t want any kind of formal memorial service when my time comes. Another, which is the reason I don’t care to burden my family with one, is that funerals are for and about the living, not the dead.

My Best Friend of over 30 years and my Favorite Boy is dead. Three years ago, before either of us knew that we knew he was dying, he told me that if he went first, he wanted me to deliver his eulogy as the person who knows him best. One year ago, fully aware that we were only a matter of weeks away from the reality we’d somehow always sensed was coming, I told him I would have nothing to do with his funeral. I am a truth seeker and a truth teller, and the truth I know didn’t belong anywhere near his grieving family…at least those with the capacity to genuinely grieve. But I did promise him when the time was right, I would write and share the best story I could muster to convey ALL THE THINGS we were to each other over a lifetime.

Make no mistake, this is all about and for me – the one still living. My perceptions. My memories. They’re all I’ve got. My life experienced with My Favorite Boy is my own story to tell, and I choose to tell it now as a gift to myself and to our wide circle of friends who adored him.

My Favorite Boy and I were both born in March 1971 just a few miles apart in Los Angeles. It would be another 16 years before Fate/God/Reality/whatever would bring us together in Thousand Oaks, California. He had no memory of the day we met, but I certainly do. Now I should warn you before I begin, that there are a shit ton of boys to keep straight in this story. My Favorite Boy was a guy’s guy. The first time I saw him I was actually being introduced to his best friend who was about to become my first serious boyfriend. Even though the focus was on the boy I was being set up with, I vividly remember my first impression of his tall, swarthy side-kick, “Who is this 30-yr-old man and why is he in high school?”

With that first boyfriend with whom I had zero history or emotional connection, I would experience the hormone high of “first love” and subsequent heartbreak of being abruptly dumped only 2 months later. To that boy I want to say in all sincerity and love – THANK YOU. Thank you for recognizing that you and I weren’t a thing that should be a thing and having the courage to just say it and move on. It set the stage for everything to follow. Thank you for being our Favorite Boy’s cradle-to-grave friend. There’s a reason he chose you to be the one to break the news of his passing to his closest friends. When we came to the end I didn’t know how I was going to find out. I was cut off and blocked as soon as he went on hospice. When I received your unceremonious DM 3 days after he’d slipped away…it was perfection. It was so HIM to have everything meticulously planned out and in place to make sure everyone was taken care of in the context of supreme loyalty with you, his longest-time friend. He loved you and trusted you to do that for him. I love you. Thank you.

Even as a teenager, our Favorite Boy had a paternal, protective yet inclusive vibe about him. There are reasons for that. He was the first-born son and cousin within a very large and connected Armenian family. From birth, the mantle was placed on him as the leader and keeper of that connection for his generation. He carried that sense of responsibility to create and maintain a safe space to hold everyone and everything together through every aspect of his life; school/work, friendships…but ultimately, it was always family that would take precedence.

Loyalty was My Favorite Boy’s defining characteristic…to an absolute exploitable fault. Sincerity is mine. From the very beginning and all the way through to the very end, we were effortlessly good together. In the summer of ’87, after making sure the first one was cool with it, My Favorite Boy made his move to be my next boyfriend. I myself was cool with it, thinking we’d keep it casual. He was generous. He was fun. We talked and laughed easily and had spent enough time around each other by that point to actually be friends. It was everything but casual for him. He was instantly head-over-heels, first-love trippin the way I had been just a few months earlier over his best friend, but with a lot more substance. I recognized it right away and was incredibly conflicted. I loved how I felt and who I was with him but could not stand the thought of being dishonest about the discrepancy in our emotional states. Just a week or two into the beginning of our junior year, though I hated the thought of causing him even a fraction of the pain I’d felt in my first breakup, I knew I had to do it then versus stringing him along and making it worse later. The poor guy was DEVASTATED. By default, because I’m an empath, so was I – for him – and I poured myself out to comfort and reassure him over the breakup I’d initiated. And then we’d still hang out and do everything together and be fully invested in wanting the best for each other, whatever that was.

That was us. It’s how we started and how we were with each other for 34 years until death did us part. Our relationship and love for each other transcends time, space and labels. Whether we were off or on again romantically, the spiritual bond we shared was a constant and it was powerful and palpable and obvious to everyone who knew us both.

After the initial not-really-a-breakup, we did end up being very much on again for the bulk of our junior year of high school and had a reputation for being the golden couple. My parents adored him, his parents adored me, and we loved spending time with each other’s families. We were never possessive with each other and we encouraged each other to be generous and free in all our relationships. That didn’t stop others from being jealous of what we had together. We knew there were people with mad crushes on us both, but we played it cool and politely brushed it off. One boy in particular, the Lost Boy, refused to be brushed off, politely or otherwise. Prior to meeting him as my lab partner towards the end of that year, I’d never seen or heard of him as he wasn’t in the initial circle of friends that I’d come to know. Suddenly, he was all up in our social scene vying for a spot as my Favorite Boy’s best buddy. I really didn’t think much of it at the time.

Meanwhile, My Favorite Boy and I had grown deeply serious in our relationship. The summer before our senior year, my emotional discrepancy alarm was blaring again. This time I felt I was the one farther in and that My Favorite Boy was not on the same page. In a very vulnerable moment, I mustered up the courage to tell him I wanted everything – with him. He responded out of fear with condescending dismissiveness that crushed and humiliated me. But like the good girl I was conditioned to be, I didn’t express any of that to him. I mean, hell…good girls aren’t supposed to want what I asked for, so I got what I deserved, right? A few weeks after that, I broke up with him again, determined to make it stick and spend some time being truly single and figuring out myself for myself for a while. He was sweet about it and said he understood, though I know he expected I’d come back around and fall into his arms again. I did too.

And thus we began our senior year, no longer the golden couple. My Favorite Boy did give me the space and respect I’d asked for…sort of. We still hooked up on occasion. We still hung out every day and on weekends in our friend group, which somehow had begun to heavily feature the Lost Boy. The Lost Boy centered himself even more in the group when he started dating one of my closest friends, Beatrice. It didn’t matter if we weren’t officially a couple, there was someone who had an intense interest in being seen with us as one.

I think I hit my single stride for the whole month of January 1989. I chose to go to Senior Ball with My Favorite Boy as my best friend. We had an absolute blast without hooking up. I felt so connected to myself and my friends in that sliver of time and space. We had a ski trip planned a couple weeks later. We were just a few months away from graduation and launching into freedom and adulthood. Life was brimming with possibilities and excitement about the future for all of us.

And then we went on that fucking ski trip. I’ve fantasized way too many times over the years how life could have been different for us all if I’d never gone. I won’t go into detail about what happened for fear of giving the Lost Boy too much attention. But to sum up, I ruined his plans by daring to assert myself in what I did and did not want, which to the narcissist is the ultimate insult for which you will be made to pay. It’ll take a book to describe how he did it and I’m not going to attempt it now, but just a couple weeks later on my 18th birthday, a day My Favorite Boy and I were definitely not together and barely speaking, the Lost Boy struck me hard right under everyone’s noses. Suddenly, I was dating his newest bestest friend, a boy I had just barely met before the ski trip, a boy I never wanted to be with. That in and of itself was not the end of the world. It sucked. It wasn’t fair to him. It wasn’t honest. We had no history or substance. It was a shitty way to end the last months of my senior year of high school, but I figured it was easier to just wait until we all got off to college to break it off with him to avoid any further conflict.

I never got the chance. Just a week before Thanksgiving break when I had planned to break up with him, the boy I never wanted to be with fell asleep at the wheel and died on the way back to his college after surprising me with an uninvited visit to see me at mine.

We all came together two nights later at a friends house. I don’t remember much other than I desperately didn’t want to be there. I was sitting on the floor, near comatose, unable to speak, unable to move…until the Lost Boy got right up in my face and started making lame jokes trying to get me to smile. At that point, I blacked out. I have no memory of it, but My Favorite Boy ended up carrying me out of there a screaming hysterical mess. The next thing I remember I was in my living room with my parents standing over me looking terrified as I sobbed over and over, “I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be alone.”; at which point My Favorite Boy scooped me up again and put me to bed saying, “You won’t be. I’ll stay right here with you all night.” And that he did on the floor next to me. My mom brought him a blanket and a pillow. It would be the only night we ever slept in the same room. There were multiple opportunities before and after, as recently as 3 years ago, but we never took them.

Immediately after the funeral and Thanksgiving break, we all scattered back out to our respective colleges as if nothing had happened. At least that’s how it felt from my perspective. It was like a magic eraser had wiped everything clean. I felt…great. The next few months of college were the most fun and free of my life. On my 19th birthday, My Favorite Boy made the trip out to San Diego to spend the day with me. I showed him around campus. We sat on the beach and talked then went to Horton Plaza to see a movie, Driving Miss Daisy. There’s a scene at the end where Hoke visits Miss Daisy in her nursing home and tenderly assists her in eating her Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. We had the theater to ourselves as the movie had been out for a while, and it was there blubbering and holding each other that we made the pumpkin pie promise – that we would be there and take care of each other always to the very end, and that whoever went first would never have to fear going alone.

This was just a few weeks before the next tag team of Lost Boys came out of nowhere for the kill, irresistibly drawn by the trauma and vulnerability I was hemorrhaging. By the next Thanksgiving I was engaged, having been proposed to on the one-year anniversary of my previous boyfriend’s death. I secretly got married in Vegas on my 20th birthday, 6 months before the “official” wedding.

From there, it took me two years of chaos and misery to reach the point of breaking bad when I finally figured out my husband was a wannabe Walter White. All my family had moved out of state and had no idea of the trouble I was in and I was too ashamed to tell them. My few college friends had graduated and moved away. I was completely isolated. There was only one person I ever considered calling for help. I knew if I did, My Favorite Boy would drop everything to come scoop me up and carry me out of there the same day. He ended up calling me first to share his own news. He’d met a girl and was in love. I could hear it in his voice that he was, and I was so happy for him. There was no way I was going to risk sabotaging his relationship and his happiness, so I kept my troubles to myself and told no one.

And then came the next magic eraser. My husband knew he’d broken me beyond all use and that I was a threat of exposure and failure if I left him, so in true narcissist form, he did a 180 pivot to completely reinvent himself as a God Bro in his hometown, where to this day he is accepted as a god and exempt from all accountability. It was there that he would “give me children” and I exhausted myself being the ultimate good mommy to the whole community, feeling responsible to meet everyone’s dysfunctional emotional and spiritual needs. Meanwhile, my husband jacked off and played rock star every Sunday while neglecting and exploiting me and the kids in every way, all while being hailed as the golden ministry family with such beautiful children.

Why, you may ask, am I telling the backstory to my shit show of a marriage and what that has to do with our Favorite Boy? My story is his story. We were twin flames trapped in separate dumpster fires. We spent the better part of 20 years trying to lift each other out to freedom and safety. I barely escaped mine only to have to watch him die in his.

After we were both married with kids we kept in touch with birthday calls and Christmas letters. In the early years, we tried getting our young families together on a semi-regular basis, but the spouses had a talent for making things deliberately uncomfortable and frustrating, so we stopped trying. To say My Favorite Boy worked a lot and traveled a lot is a massive understatement. Once or twice a year he’d pop in for a quick visit if he was in town, always making sure I knew it would go easier for him if no one back home knew about it. Every time, he poured his heart out to me about how desperately lonely and miserable he was behind the perfect family façade.

Then dawned the age of social media and Facebook that blew my world wide open. I was very active on it as an introvert writer’s playground. As our high school friends were all joining, My Favorite Boy briefly played with us in the beginning. Facebook was a completely different animal then, but at the time people were posting and tagging friends on a questionnaire of likes, dislikes, life firsts and such. He did a few with several inside jokes and jabs just for me. He got serious at one point answering questions about his daily life and thoughts on his future. He was worried about his health, physical and mental, and he was struggling. I could read between the lines and feel his pain and despair as if it were my own…because it was.

Thirteen years ago, sitting at my computer I had a complete emotional meltdown having for the first time allowed myself to entertain the unthinkable…

What would I do if My Favorite Boy died? How could there even be a life that made sense without him in it? How could I function, live, breathe if I lost the connection that he was to my own soul? We would later come to see it as an act of mercy, beginning to prepare us for the coming reality. I was going to have to be the one to feed him the pumpkin pie. We made the most of any time we had together despite every obstacle, and there were many.

His online activity, even his phone calls, texting and emails were strictly monitored and policed. He’d caught hell for even that much engagement with his own friends. He didn’t post anything ever again after that, but he did use Facebook to keep close tabs on me as my horror story unfolded out loud for everyone to see. By 2015, he could read between the lines to understand everything that was going on, things I couldn’t yet admit to myself because it wasn’t safe to do so. On his last visit with me in Visalia we had a precious few moments alone. He asked me point blank, “Jen, are you OK? Do you need help? Do you need MY help?” Before I could figure out how to answer, my husband walked in the door and we all went out to dinner.

Just a few months later, my world blew up. The next two years were consumed with the fight for my life and the lives of my children. There is no safe or civil way to leave a narcissist, especially if children are involved. It is savage warfare in which you have to be prepared to do anything and lose everything in order to reclaim yourself. During that time I didn’t have much contact with My Favorite Boy. He knew I had the support of my family and that all he could do was stand by as I did what I had to do.

By the start of 2018, I had won my freedom but was reeling from the trauma, frozen and shell shocked with no idea how to move or begin to make a new life for myself as I’d never had one. Everything had been eviscerated to dust and ashes out of which I felt powerless to rise on my own. The spark that would ignite the phoenix was the birthday phone call from My Favorite Boy. Though we were physically 2000 miles apart, our spiritual connection and oneness was stronger than ever. Something he said made me belly laugh, something I hadn’t done in years, yet in talking to him for 5 minutes was free and effortless. Upon hearing me laugh, he started to choke up, “There you are, Jen. There you are. It’s been so long. I’ve missed you so much.” Those words were like a defibrillator shocking me back to life. I had to go back 30 years to before I lost myself to the only person who ever really knew and truly loved ME to remember who I AM and how to BE her again.

It was the exact same for him as he confided in me the true extent of his misery. He had been having anxiety and depressive episodes for years that he’d powered through but he was ceasing to be able to cope, especially when traveling for work alone. After decades of experiencing neglect and contempt in his own home and self-medicating through food and overwork, he was severely overweight and diabetic and having active suicidal ideations. He had been lost to himself in the same way I had for the same reasons and for as many years, although he’d been acutely aware of his own and feeling helpless to do anything about it for much longer. He told me then that he felt like he was dying, to which I wholeheartedly agreed he was. I then predicted with 100% accuracy, down to the last detail, how it would play out if he died while still in captivity.

It was at that point in the conversation that my Favorite Boy insisted that he wanted to see me. He knew I had a trip planned to the west coast to meet up with my online support group. He offered to extend my trip on the back end to meet him where he’d be on business. Now that I was suddenly free and clear from my abusive marriage, it had given him reason to hope for something different; reason to fight for himself and the love and respect as a man for which he had been starved in the shadows for decades. We had no agenda for what we would or wouldn’t do or where it would lead, we both just KNEW we had to see each other face to face and figure it out together, and we went big. The two least likely people on the planet to engage in anything that would even hint at infidelity, secretly hooked up in Vegas. 27 years earlier I’d risked and lost it all in that place. This time, I had nothing to lose, but my Favorite Boy stood to lose everything if he couldn’t get clear on what he wanted for himself. I was determined to help him do that, whether or not it meant a future with me.

I saw him first as I descended the escalator in the Vegas airport. He was holding flowers and looking around nervously. As soon as he caught sight of me, he burst into tears, and as I reached him, scooped me up into a massive bear hug, sobbing “There you are! God, I’ve missed you so much!” From there I was whisked away for 3 days of pampering in a penthouse suite at the Mirage. True to form, he’d planned out every detail, and went all out as his hopeless romantic gentleman self that had been denied free expression for so long. Together alone, we were freely and fully ourselves. We did and said ALL THE THINGS to confirm what was real between us without violating either of our integrities and nothing we couldn’t walk away from. After 3 days of cocooning together in that desert oasis, we emerged and flew our separate ways.

There would be no magic eraser this time. No toxic self-preserving delusions, romantic or otherwise. There was only Reality and whatever was best for our respective lives and the lives of our children. My Favorite Boy had to save himself for himself apart from me. I was fully committed to waiting for him to join me in freedom, but he would only truly be free if he figured out his own path in his own time.

Another year would pass before we had the opportunity to see each other again for our 30th high school reunion. Once again, we had 3 days and this time we were going to have to share it with a lot of people, so I set a firm agenda. I needed to make sure everything got said and done so that by the end of the trip we’d have a definitive plan for which way we were going with our lives. I was also determined to make peace with myself and my history of boys while there in the town where the history was made.

Day one began by being enveloped in another sob-fueled embrace in the lobby of my hotel. I’d asked him to give me 2 hours alone to go over our history together from my perspective. I’d done a furious amount of writing in the weeks leading up to the reunion to process and make sure ALL THE THINGS got expressed, especially my experience with the Lost Boy and the boyfriend who died, most of which My Favorite Boy didn’t know.

Day two was the day of the reunion. My Favorite Boy and I met that morning together with Beatrice to visit the parents of my boyfriend who had died, as we had for every previous reunion when we were in town. Favorite Boy brought flowers for the mom, because of course he did. While we were there visiting in what I knew would be the last time for me, Lost Boy texted Favorite Boy to say he was going to be a no show because it was just “too hard for him” emotionally.

Then it was time for the reunion itself. First priority for me was to get Lost Boy out of the way so I could enjoy myself. There was a cordial hello and even a hug, which I gave sincerely, while Favorite Boy hovered a few feet away monitoring my reaction and ready to step in if needed. Lost Boy, Beatrice and I chatted for all of 2 minutes before the conversation became all about him. I simply smiled and walked away without another word to him the rest of the night and forever, at perfect peace within myself.

It was a beautiful night with so many beautiful friends, many of whom I trust are joining me here in eulogy for our Favorite Boy. Those of us with the capacity to be humbled had been around long enough for life to kick most of the shit and pride out of us, leaving more space for compassion and connection. It was Senior Ball all over again for me, full to bursting with love and appreciation for my friends and excitement about the future. As we were all so openly affectionate, I don’t think anyone questioned how close My Favorite Boy and I held each other as we danced to our class theme song, Forever Young by Alphaville. Anyone who saw us witnessed a sacred moment.

The third day would our last together in this life, and we acted like we knew it was. First stop was the cemetery, which we agreed would be the last time for both of us. We talked about how many visits we’d paid to this grave over the years and how uncomforting it had always been. I placed some yellow roses and knelt down and prayed a prayer of forgiveness for us all, “Father, forgive us as we don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”

On the drive over Kanan Dume Rd to Malibu, we listened to a custom playlist I’d made and we talked…mostly about death. He wasn’t afraid of it for himself at all. As earth-shattering as my boyfriend’s death had been at 18, the more time passed and the older we all got, he became less the tragic figure and more the lucky one. My Favorite Boy admitted he didn’t feel sorry for him. His parents, certainly, but not the boy himself. In another 50 years, no matter how much any of us suffer, none of it will matter. Another 100 years, there will be no one who directly remembers us. All that matters for anyone is the here-and-now and how we treat the living. Once we slip out of time and space and this earth suit…nothing matters.

We made it to Zuma Beach and sat for an hour or two watching the waves and talking about our family history, mostly our relationship with our parents. I also mentioned how epically my milestone birthdays had sucked and vowed we’d have our shit together by our 50th and do it up right. Then it was on to my hotel by the airport where we had one last hour alone before he had to leave to get home. In that last hour, I made my final pitch for what a life together could look like. We danced one last time, after which he told me to close my eyes, and…we stopped talking. Even so, we didn’t do anything we couldn’t walk away from, and it was time for him to walk away.

We had agreed not to contact each other in any way for the next 6 months while he implemented the necessary changes in his life to free himself while prioritizing the wellbeing of his children. I would wait until the next birthday call for an update and we would reconnect from there. My brain had every reason to believe I would see him again, and when I did it would be in euphoric consummation of our life going forward together. But my Spirit knew the Reality. As My Favorite Boy turned to leave, it was all I could do to stifle a wail of grief that welled up in me as he disappeared out the door. Everything in me felt like I was saying goodbye forever.

It was September 2019 and Reality was at the doorstep and coming for us all. COVID-19 was already among us, though not yet detected or recognized…as was his cancer. Six months later, we were all in lockdown and My Favorite Boy was exhibiting the classic symptoms of his illness. He suspected right away that it was cancer and even what kind, but he would have no support or concern at home and was dismissed by his doctors. He wouldn’t get an official diagnosis until November, and by then the cancer was stage IV and a certain death sentence. The prognosis was 6 months to a year with aggressive chemotherapy and only 2 months with no intervention.

He waited until December to tell me. November already held enough trauma history. It also gave him time to organize and get his affairs in order so that everyone and everything was taken care of. It’s what he did best. By the time he was ready to tell me, the chemo schedule was all set. Family pictures were being taken, including the one of himself that he knew would be used at his memorial service, and all focus was on spending as normal as possible Christmas with his kids.

My Favorite Boy broke the news I already knew but now had to acknowledge and feel through a Facebook private message and set up a FaceTime call with me the next day. He looked…great. He found comfort and strength in immersing himself in the logistics of the situation and his role as provider for his family. Now the question was, what did he need from me in this Reality? His answer, “I need you to be strong, Jen. You’re all I’ve got for emotional support and the only one who knows…everything.” And so we set up a schedule to talk every two weeks when he wouldn’t be feeling the worst of the chemo.

I asked My Favorite Boy what he feared most about the process of dying. Without hesitation he said he feared being a burden to his family. One of the hallmarks of narcissistic abuse is being conditioned to deny and dismiss your own needs and desires by being punished for expressing them. It’s a dynamic with which I’m intimately familiar. My Favorite Boy believed he himself was a failure and a burden if he couldn’t do everything for his loved ones or was dependent on them to do anything for him. My first task as spiritual advisor and death doula was to cut straight through that bullshit, and I wasn’t gentle.

A burden implies a weight that can be placed or lifted. Aggressive terminal cancer was not a burden. It was a catastrophic landslide. I used my best colorful words to persuade him to name and cast off the real burdens that were never his to carry. I took an even stronger tone based on my own experience urging him to identify whatever unhealthy burdens he was responsible for placing on his children and to use whatever time he had left focused on helping to unburden them.

I had no more advice to offer from that point on, only my presence and a listening ear as he wanted and needed. I didn’t press him for information and let him reserve his energy for whatever he needed me to know. March 2021 was a low point for me. I pulled away from social media for several weeks to silently just get through my 50th birthday. The last birthday phone call from My Favorite Boy was excruciating for us both, but after passing that marker we’d been dreading, we found it easier to lighten up. As he adjusted and responded to his treatment regimen, we were becoming progressively more unburdened in ourselves and with each other. He felt well enough between chemo rounds to travel to be with his mother for Mother’s Day last year. Staying the night alone in a hotel was a familiar and welcome respite where he felt like himself again, free for just a few hours from the cancer or anyone else dictating his every move.

My Favorite Boy was a bit vain and didn’t like to talk or be seen when he was feeling and looking rough. He’d only talk to me if he had enough energy to put on a strong game face and voice. Even then, he’d only ever FaceTime with me when he was in his car and out of the house. There were reasons for that, none of them about us having anything to hide or be ashamed of. It was next to impossible to be allowed access to him inside that house that wasn’t strictly monitored and censored, but I found a way. Upon him finishing the last round of chemo, I sent him what looked from the outside to be a lovely card. In reality, it was dirty, dirty payback on a 30-yr-old inside practical joke. I won.

The next phone call would be our last, and though we didn’t know it, once again, we acted like we did. We laughed like drunk fools over the gift I’d managed to get to him. We could not stop giggling until we started crying. This time it was my turn, “There you are. There’s My Favorite Boy. I’ve missed you so much. I will love you forever.” We talked very briefly about his plans for a memorial service. He told me he intended for it to be small with only a few hand-picked friends and select family and that there would be a separate private Armenian family gathering. We ended the call with him promising that he’d make a way for me to come see him when it looked like he was nearing hospice.

He sent me a text the day of our next scheduled call saying he was too weak to talk and the doctors were stopping all treatment and setting up hospice. Right up to that point I’d had the freedom and flexibility to hop on a plane on a day’s notice and be there within 24 hours. But this was happening the week of my kids’ going back to school full time post COVID and I couldn’t leave them. I answered his text, telling him to check his Facebook private messages when he had the emotional bandwidth to do so and not to expend any more precious energy towards me.

It was through Facebook that I said my final goodbye and released him to do what he had to do. I walked him as far as I could to the door. The time had come for him to step through on his own. I’d been grieving his loss in some form for over 20 years, and now that it was here, I felt at total peace. My Favorite Boy was going to leave his suffering and take his place among the lucky ones where none of it matters.

I saw the notification that he or someone had read the message. Two days later I was blocked. I had no idea how I was going to find out when and how he died, though I felt it when he did…or rather, I noticed for the first time I couldn’t feel him.

I’ve spent many hours over the past few months talking and weeping and even laughing with my Favorite Boy’s mother. She wasn’t at his memorial service either for the same reasons I was not. We both know the full extent of what he suffered and why. The truth we know didn’t belong anywhere near the narrative that needed to be presented at that memorial service.

I last checked in with her on My Favorite Boy’s birthday, our first without him. She still doesn’t know what was done with her son’s ashes. Her emails and texts have been ignored. We don’t know if his wishes have been honored that there be no shrine or urn or marker of any kind. And you know what? None of it matters. He’s forever alive in the story he created in his time and space with the choices he made and in how he treated the living. He entrusted me to tell his story. As I’ve labored in the last few weeks to do it, I can feel him again…and he’s laughing. Our connection is as Real as it ever was, more powerful than it’s ever been. I am empowered and free to LIVE and make the most of every moment and every relationship, because – here – now – it ALL matters.

It is finished. Into your hands I commit his spirit.

The Dam is Broken

There are two forms of courage in this world. One demands that we jump into action with our armor on. The other demands that we strip ourselves bare-naked and surrender. Bravery is a curious thing.

From “Spiritual Graffiti” by Jeff Brown

Open vulnerability has always been my natural flow. Boldly asserting myself, not so much. The result? A mighty river was dammed up and exploited to the point of stagnation and near death.

It’s been 15 years since I cried out in desperation to Whatever God There Is, asking Them if I’d ever experience true freedom and love in all fullness. They promised I would but that it would come at a terrible price. Three times I heard Them ask if I was willing. With profound sincerity and trepidation, I said “yes” to all.

From that moment on, the river resumed its flow, gradually increasing in strength and filling the massive reservoir behind the dam. I’ve waited in faith for Them to reveal the timing for when and how to demolish the man-made restraining barrier and reclaim my natural intuitive flow as everything I AM. That time is now.

Everyone who lived comfortably downstream at my expense has been given ample warning and freedom to move on into whatever life they want for themselves apart from me.

Mixed Messages

A composite of mixed messages I’ve received over my lifetime as a female.

BE PRETTY. No, be prettier. Whatever you have to do at all times to be prettier…unless we feel intimidated and want to justify indulging our own insecurities or we’re just not in the mood to exercise self-control or basic kindness. Then it’s on you for showing off too much pretty. Be just attractive enough to where you are effortlessly pleasing to look at and a fine prop to make US look and feel good.

BE SMART, but don’t you dare think. Always work to be smarter, but DO NOT show us just how smart you are, cuz ya know…that intimidation thing again. You want to be liked, don’t you?  Use your smarts to figure out how to show just enough smarts without being too smart and you’ll be fine. Don’t ever expect us to work to understand you. Dumb it down for us without making it look like you’re dumbing it down for us. Here, we’ll help you by putting you down. Then, as you’re scraping yourself off the floor, everyone can see you having to come up to our level. There’s a smart girl.

BE STRONG. Come on honey, don’t play the victim. Show us whatcha got…except when it challenges us in any way, then you’re a mean bitch.

BE HONEST. We applaud this wonderful virtue, but not when you expose parts of yourself that aren’t pretty or are (again) too smart or too vulnerable. Some of that spotlight might accidentally shine on the rest of us, threatening to expose our dark and messy places. We can’t have that, darlin’. Yes, be honest, but learn to recognize when that shit becomes an inconvenience and threat to our agenda, and then be a good girl and shut the fuck up.

WORK HARD. We’re perfectly happy to take every last drop of your soul. Just start pouring and don’t ever stop. We’ll dictate exactly what and how, and when we dump a shovelful of shit on your head, we expect you to smile and accept our criticism like a shower of rose petals. We’ll think you’re wonderful (if we think of you at all) as long as you remain that steady, quiet, compliant Good Girl and keep producing for us. But the minute you trip or fall or die and can’t anymore? Well, that’s on you, stupid girl. Shame on you for not being enough to meet our expectations or having what it takes to stand up under the weight of all we projected on you.

Make us uncomfortable in any way and we can instantly paint you into the insane, ugly, stupid, arrogant, ungrateful bitch we need you to be. One word. One second. That’s all we need. Remember that.

Now, go be the pretty, smart, courageous, industrious woman of integrity God intended you to be!

Or else.

Shut Up and Sing

Originally written and posted September 2016, a month before plunging into full awareness and the fight for my life and the lives of my children.

I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets, and I don’t mind saying
It’s a sad, sad story
When a mother will teach her daughter
That she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Saying that I better
Shut up and sing
Or my life will be over? – Dixie Chicks

Once upon a time, we were offered 6 figures to climb the corporate church ladder and be entertainers in an even bigger and better church than we were already in. We turned it down. It’s quite a story from there.

The short of it, the second we stopped singing at the church we’d remained loyal to in order to minister with integrity, they broke every promise they’d given of support, disowned and ghosted us, leaving our family of 6 hanging with nothing.

We kept our baby church alive as best we could for 3 years right under the shadow of the Big Bro Church. I’ve really got to hand it to them. They were (and continue to be) absolutely amazing at pretending not only that we don’t exist, but that we never did.

Jimmy is still there. I couldn’t take it another second and fled to where the love is with my family.

So imagine, if you will, what it was like for us last summer, as we were making the tough decision to put our church baby on hospice, when my husband received a text from the former boss who’d wanted us so badly 5 years prior, demanding he silence his wife.

I was saying dangerous and heretical things.

Here I was thinking I was nothing to no one. Turns out I was a very Scary Girl.

Alright Bros of God…you only want to hear my voice if it’s singing?

Here ya go.

Scary Girl lyrics

I’m Right Here

I’m here. I’m here. I’m right here…and I am not well

 

Squatting in the ashes, scraping festering sores

And there you are…right there

Dead shark eyes deliberately unseeing

Cadaverous hearts, pickled and pristine

 

I would cherish any of you to sit with me where I am

Even as Job’s friends, whether mute or fumbling

To try and make sense of failure and despair

But no…you will not acknowledge me here

 

Denying my family – YOUR FAMILY – so much as a scrap

The affection and resources you lavish on dogs

Days became months turned to years spent right here

Silently screaming, staring at your backs turned…right there

 

I’m here. I’m here. I’m right here…and I am not well

 

 

First of a Thousand

“I WANT TO BE HEARD!” I roared, slamming my fists on the bed. It was November 2012 and we were pastors…or at least about to be. My then husband of 21 years and father of our 4 children had just asked me what I wanted. It was not the first time, and wouldn’t be the last, he would ask me this question, but it was the first time I’d ever responded with such force and raw honesty. It obviously shook him, which struck me as odd. He was always so fucking sure of himself and aggressively went after whatever HE wanted. How could it be that my daring to do the same was perceived as a threat, especially when all I wanted was to have a voice and a say in our future as a family? The fear in his eyes was unmistakable.

At the time, I suffered from the massive delusion that humans are mostly rational creatures (we are not) and that if I was able to clearly explain the reality of my experience, the powers that be within Church World would understand the harm they were causing my family and be motivated out of love to stop (they did not).

I have a thousand tales to tell of my rise out of a lifetime of exploitation and abuse within Evangelical Church World and my 25-year marriage to a malignant narcissist. Eight years ago, my conscience clawed its way to the surface and demanded to be heard. Today, it demands of me to speak out against the current plague of genocidal sociopathy terrorizing us all and to give voice to victims of domestic abuse – which, under the current fascist regime, is every American.

The biggest challenge for me over the last four years has been to wait in faith for Her (my intuition/Whatever God There Is) to give the green light as to when and how to begin to tell my story. “When” became clear upon the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “How” to unravel and share enough information to fill several books is to simply begin and say what happened.

I was born and raised within a system that insisted its ideas of God were absolute truth. I learned very early on as a child that to exercise autonomy or freedom of thought or expression brought out fear, anger and condemnation from those I loved and trusted most. This is the root of my super codependent skill of stuffing my honest self deep down so as not to make waves or cause anyone the slightest bit of inconvenience or discomfort.

As a teenager, I managed around this by compartmentalizing. I dutifully complied with home and church life with my parents, but school and my social life away from them was my own. I spoke as I pleased, engaged in relationships as I pleased, and found I preferred the company of *gasp* non-Christians. I was most happy and self-fulfilled then. But I would soon discover “the system” that considered my personal freedom of mind, body and soul to be a threat extended well beyond Church World and permeated everything and everyone.

My autonomous safe haven and all its gains were wiped out on my 18th birthday by a fledgling narcissist Lost Boy. It is the most important story I have to tell when the time is right, but for purposes of overview…

The Lost Boy was enraged when I dared to take a stab at being single and unattached to any boy, and he took it upon himself to make me pay with a gaslighting intimidation and triangulation assault that utterly crushed and disabled me. I was coerced into dating his sycophant buddy who I barely knew and had no interest in.

That boy was nice enough and not a monster himself, but he wasn’t good to me either and not at all what I wanted. The Lost Boy had me convinced that I was selfish and entitled and had been responsible for the conflict and that I would destroy this boy if I broke up with him. I saw no way out. I spent the last four months of my senior year of high school shut down and numb to my own reality, torn away and isolated from my true friends. I lost myself right under everyone’s noses and no one could see it.

The boy I never wanted to be with would die just a few months later. He fell asleep at the wheel returning to his college after a surprise (uninvited and unwanted) visit to see me at mine.

The trauma left me primed and ready for the next tag team of narcissist Lost Boys to descend like vultures on road kill. By very deliberate design, I couldn’t recognize them as such. I thought I was safe. I thought they were my saviors. I was at a Christian college and it was an older Christian boy who set my heart on fire.

As this particular brand of Monster is SO adept at doing, my shockingly-soon-to-be-husband along with his sidekick minion secured me with blinding speed. He proposed to me on the one-year anniversary of my previous boyfriend’s death. We secretly married in Vegas only four months after that on my 20th birthday. The red flags of his misbehavior waved furiously in the subsequent months between Vegas and our “official” very pretty, churchy church wedding. Had we not already been legally married, I probably would have had the courage to not go through with it. But, here I was again feeling like I had no choice and no way out.

The first two years of marriage while living on campus at our Christian school were marked by my husband’s meth-fueled frenzy of infidelity, neglect, and financial abuse right under my nose where I couldn’t see it. I will have much to say in later writings about what mind-fuck wizards these Monsters are at doing that.

The day I finally did see and knew I had to leave him, he hoovered me back in with the ultimate con. He “repented” and “left his life of sin” to become my hero and a Bro of God in Church World in his home town.

Fast forward four children and two decades of ministry together, and it unraveled exactly as it had begun but with infinitely more at stake. Substance abuse, infidelity (criminal in nature), financial and sexual abuse…brought into my house, triangulating and manipulating his own children and enabled by his network of minions – the Bros and Biddies of God – right under my nose where I couldn’t see it.

Except I DID…see it, know it, feel it every minute of every day since I lost myself at 18 years old. But I couldn’t afford to acknowledge or bring it to the surface until my children and I were safely 2000 miles away from him and the entire system of abuse that was backing him up. She (my intuition/Whatever God There Is) knew he would kill us all if I confronted and exposed him directly and there was no one who was going to believe me.

And so ends the first of a thousand stories I will tell.

Smear Campaign

So you’ve had your heart ripped open and torn to shreds, been physically and financially exploited and devastated, and now…here comes the smear campaign. If you are going to escape, there’s no escaping this classic hallmark of the malignant narcissist. It’s not enough to simply cut you open, they must fling fistfuls of excrement into the gaping wounds they inflict and recruit as many others as they can to join in. The only saving grace one has in breaking free from one of these things is in how utterly predictable they are in their pattern of behavior. They do not and cannot deviate from it.
 
The smear campaign is the absolute worst in terms of pain, isolation and humiliation.
 
However, the absolute best is on the other side once you’ve identified all the people in your life that need to go. For me, it’s been 98% of everyone I knew in 20+ years of church world. Gone. I do not miss any of them any more than one would miss cancer once in remission. The only real loss is in having to cut off some lovely genuine people with social/familial ties to the toxic ones. Losing them is like surgically removing a margin of healthy tissue around the cancer to ensure you’ve gotten it all.
 
My life is finally my own and I can breathe.
 
My children are happy because I am finally happy and free and sane. Every relationship that remains or is established going forward is healthy and REAL.
 
The enormity of the injustice and cruelty hurts like hell, but if you survive it without becoming the monster yourself…nothing can touch or stop you.
 
Nothing. It’s becoming my everything.

Leaving a Person with Narcissism: Here Comes the Smear Campaign

 

Adult with long curly hair listens on phone with disdainIt took FOREVER to finally leave the person in your life with narcissism, only to realize that once you made that fateful decision, your name became mud.

Your ex is not going to let you go without a fight. You’re going to be villainized like you never experienced before the breakup.

All your friends and family will hear how crazy, unbalanced, manipulative, and narcissistic you are. Your ex will be sure to strike first; you may not want to strike at all, but your hand may seem forced.

The smear campaign of a person with narcissism can be so convincing. Since, throughout the relationship, you mainly kept your mouth shut about the problems you were having, no one really saw this coming. When your ex starts to talk negatively about you, with feelings of hurt and strong conviction, others may be inclined to believe what they hear. They had no idea how “crazy” you were, but now, if they think about it, they do remember the time you did x, y, or z.

Like many people with narcissistic qualities, your ex can be a master manipulator. They can turn on the sad eyes and tears, convincing everyone how dearly you are loved by them and how clueless they are about why it ended so abruptly. Maybe it’s menopause or a midlife crisis on your part. Obviously, something is wrong with you.

The smear campaign may even work with your children. The children have become so accustomed to an abusive relationship that the concept of scapegoating seems normal. Blaming and villainizing others has been modeled as acceptable. They may see nothing abnormal about making you a target of wrath. And since they love the parent with narcissism, they likely want to win their favor, which makes it all the more easy for them to join in the campaign.

The Anatomy of a Smear Campaign

Here’s how a good smear campaign works:

  1. It generally contains an element of truth. For instance, if the person with narcissism complains you abandoned the relationship, well, this is true. They will likely go on and on about how all they ever wanted was to love you and stay with you, but you, in your evilness, flippantly left the relationship—for no reason other than you don’t care about anything other than yourself and can’t keep your commitments.
  2. It is done with implication. The person with narcissism may say something like, “I don’t want to sound mean, but certain people, who shall remain nameless, have me worried.” The person with narcissism may imply that, no matter how hard they have tried to help you or deal with your issues, you are irreparable. Some people—you being one of them—are just hopeless. Implication can be a very effective tool. Those listening come to their conclusions about you based on this subtly nefarious input.
  3. It is also done overtly. Sometimes the person with narcissism just comes right out and says it: you are a no-good lunatic! They will tell story after story about all the awful things you’ve done. They will take every vulnerability you’ve revealed to them and use it now, along with made-up information, to tarnish your reputation and slander your name.
  4. It is relentless. No one holds a grudge quite like a person with narcissism. They can carry a silent treatment to the grave just as well as they can carry a smear campaign. They are relentless. You may be shocked and dismayed by the battleground you find yourself navigating. Never have you encountered such an enemy.

How to Deal with Narcissistic Attacks

What can you do if you find yourself in this position? Here are some tried-and-true suggestions from those who have gone before you:

  • Learn to value yourself above anyone else’s opinion. The only way a smear campaign can work is if you allow it to. If people choose to go along with false accusations about you, then yes, it hurts—but you don’t have to let it destroy you. You can learn to not care what others think about you.

Yes, you do deserve defense, but being caught in the trap of trying to get others (and the person with narcissism) to see your good heart can become a never-ending battle. It is easier to simply tell yourself, “They aren’t going to see,” and move on.

  • Remember why you left the relationship in the first place. You were devalued and discarded. You did not leave to continue to be disrespected by others. If others are going to jump on your ex’s narcissistic bandwagon and join their hater campaign, simply walk away and remind yourself that you deserve respect.
  • Resist the urge to defend yourself. While this may be easier said than done, it is an important concept. Remember when you were in your relationship? You likely felt defensive often. You probably tried to explain yourself thousands of times, to no avail. You ended up being caught in all kinds of “gotcha” traps. So now that you’re out of the relationship, understand that this person continues to try to control your emotions in similar fashion—causing you to doubt your motives, your good nature, even your sanity. Yes, you do deserve defense, but being caught in the trap of trying to get others (and the person with narcissism) to see your good heart can become a never-ending battle. It is easier to simply tell yourself, “They aren’t going to see,” and move on.
  • Make a preemptive strike. In other words, make friends with your “enemies.” Let them get to know you personally. It’s a lot harder to hate someone you know well. If you can befriend the people your ex is targeting for their campaign, you may be able to affect some damage control. If the people being targeted are family (including your children), tell them your side of the story. Let them know you are the target of a smear campaign and to not believe what your ex is saying about you. Inform them your ex is creating “spin” to the point that what they are saying is fiction and a waste of time to believe. Be forthright, convincing, and firm. State your side once, then let it go.
  • Spend your time well. No matter what others think or do, you really have no power over them. The only person you have power over is yourself. Regardless of what others do with their thoughts and actions toward or against you, you cannot control them. You may be able to influence them, but that is all. Don’t spend a lot of your precious energy trying to make others see the truth. Spend time with people who don’t judge you—those who value you and help you feel supported and loved. Enjoy your life!

What It Means When A Narcissist Says, “I Love You.”

 

WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A NARCISSIST SAYS “I LOVE YOU”

Dear Codependent Partner,

What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.

And that’s the whole point.

When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.

I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.

I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.

I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.

I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)

(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.

I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.

I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.

(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children  — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)

It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.

(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how its treated!)

(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)

I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).

I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.

“I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all those I consider inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)

“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.

I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.

I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in line.)

And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”

I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.

I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.

I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.

I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.

I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.

I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.

I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.

While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.

I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.

In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.

Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.

Forever love-limiting,

Your narcissist

By   for TheMindsJournal

Words

When I read your FB text last night, I instantly related.

You are so consumed with your own pain that it makes me feel like I’m not your [relationship descriptor redacted].

Get on some meds you psycho bitch!!

No I am not [wonderful] but I think I am kind, and you were kind to me so I hope you will find peace and happiness in the future.

No time and in no way is it appropriate to be rude, unkind, cutting, demeaning, speaking out of rage and anger, and belittling others. I have seen you do each of these things with a measure of generosity. I have watched you shred those who even mildly suggest that you’re out of line.

Hi JD, I just wanted to say “Me Too”. My emotions are too raw to say anything beyond that, but ME TOO sister.

You need to get off Facebook and find some real friends.

I have a whole bunch of emotions there for you my friend. Anger, sadness, frustration to name a few. I haven’t been publicly posting on your timeline but have been following to some degree. You can – no, will – rise above this and find your own sense of self and all that entails.

This is a much more reasonable place to be. Not that being unreasonable is bad – I’m not saying that. But this post has much less estrogen-filled drama and is much easier to process (for me).

You think you are telling the truth but in fact you’re just regurgitating this woke woman diatribe that is out there in ultra feminist blogs.

I don’t have rich parents who come to my rescue every time things get a little bit hard.

I’m glad you’ve contacted scabies. I accept that as what you’ve got coming for what you’ve done to me.

You take care of you. We’ll keep praying, as always, for only good things for you – whatever those may be.

The truth? You mean your exaggerated story and outright lies that make you look like an abused victim.

I miss the person you suppressed not the person you are now.

You are a unicorn: pretty, but fierce as fuck. Damn. I mean, DAMN.

You’ve always been a bitter person.

You are beautiful inside and out.

omg! it’s impossible to reason with you.

Proud of you.

I can’t stand the woman you’ve become.

I was thinking about you and wanted to send you some love. There’s not really much I can say about the myriad things you’re going through, but I can at least let you know that much!

I’ve really, really been wanting to message you for a little while because I’ve felt so compelled to share with you a little bit more of my story. Extremely random, especially because it’s not something I’ve shared with very many, but I figure if anyone is going to understand, it’s going to be you.

Fine. I see how I rate with you now.

I don’t know what all is going on, but I admire your being upfront with how hard life is right now for you. When I felt my world was falling apart (my husband had left me and our two little ones to live the “carefree” life of a meth addict)…I kept it all to myself. I tried to make it look like everything was fine on the home front. I didn’t cry in front of my kids. The one friend I finally confided in told me what a disservice I was doing by acting like everything was normal…when clearly it was not. It was a sad time. Crying would be appropriate. Asking for help, support, love…would be appropriate. Live and learn. And pass on those lessons.

i commented, Jennifer, because from what i see, you need help. not only, but how you’re going about things mortifies me. i have no earthly idea how you can think this helps you, your kids, your extended family.

I can only say that I am proud of the decisions you have made. Teaching your children what courage and resolve look like in the face of adversity is an incredible gift.

That was really harsh the way you just talked to dad.

Hi Jennifer, sorry to hear all of the pain in your life these days. Very sorry…I can’t imagine what you are going through and I’m glad to hear you have a community around you. That is great! Thanks for sharing about your family.

You disgust me and I will hate you until the day I die.

I love you. You’re the best mommy in the universe.

 

Agony of Light

The hardest part is not the darkness. No. You can still imagine things to look much better than you feel them to be in the shadows; imagine things to be what you wish them to be, need them to be, want them to be.

It is the light that is devastatingly hard and why most avoid all but selective exposure. One cannot pretend in the light for their own comfort or false notions of safety or perfection.

I brought (have been bringing) my entire self into the light for a while now. I was not in any way prepared for the very last things to come out, which in actuality were THE thing it’s all been leading up to. I guess it would be more accurate to say I was finally ready to see BECAUSE of all I’ve been through – to have to acknowlege just how dependent I’ve been on “love” in the shadows – the idea of something I wanted it to be verses the reality of what it actually is.

My physical circumstances have more or less been the same for quite a while and will not be radically changing. I’ve been sleeping (when I’m lucky) and crying alone in bed and have been carrying the bulk of child raising for years.

But what is the thing that terrifies and crushes me? It’s the exposure of an idea that I’ve clung to my whole life as false that causes the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced. What a strange thing to admit…to be violently detoxing from the loss of an idea like it was heroin. But that’s exactly what it feels like. I’ve needed someone to be something they could never be and I numbed and sabotaged and stole from myself, denied my instincts and my true knowing and handed over my power in order to get and keep the fix I thought I couldn’t live without – to believe he was what he was not and could not be – to place an impossible burden on him. It’s what we’re all conditioned to do to each other. He and I are, and have always been, extreme cases. We don’t do subtle…ever.

In the light, there is only love most real for whole persons (myself first) separate from any selfishly projected ideas or expectations of them. It is a brutal, brutal detox to let go of my desires and let it all be whatever it will while resisting the urge to counter spin in my favor as every fiber of my being screams for resolution and relief!! But the light is no fix. It is the abrupt and harsh exposure of what truly IS.

I have to let whatever IS – BE…hands off…free to be and do and be seen for what it is by whoever can and will.

The darkness will kill ya, but damn do I miss how good it felt even at its worst compared to this. The light feels every bit like torture and death right now.

I have moments of unprecedented clarity and calmness that punctuate the baseline aching void of despair that at times swells so intensely that I feel like I could literally drown in the feeling of loss and fear and “I DON’T WANT THIS!”

God, please have mercy and get me through this withdrawal to a place of peace, wholeness and love in myself. 45 years worth is a lot to work out of my system to get clean.

The only way out is through and there is no going back or unseeing. Woe to those who have seen and known the light and then reject and deny it, because that is the blackest self-imposed darkness rooted in a self-loathing lie that will kill all ability to genuinely love or accept love fast and permanent.

I exposed the love of my life who is a part of me to the light he once used to guide me to, and then I let go as a final (and first, really) act of unselfish love for him. To do so meant the death of my addiction and codependency and sent me reeling into this tortuous detox. There is nothing but pain for me in it. He has kicked and screamed and spat and spun violently all the way, directed just at me, because he knows I will not and cannot hide anything anymore. It all comes into the light, but I cannot keep him with me there.

Whether in light or darkness, he is who he is and I AM who I AM.

Into the fire we all must go, one way or the other, and we all must go alone. All I can do is be my own light and to do so I must burn.

Mama, Help Me