Thursday, 21 February 2013

Narc Management

Answer someone stupid according to his foolishness, 
that he may not become wise in his own eyes.
Prov 26:5
* * *

"Sydney, Australia: A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin's 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single check-in attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk, slapped his ticket down on the counter and demands preferential treatment.
Stroppy Passenger: I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS TO BE FIRST CLASS.
Check-In: I'm sorry sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out.
Stroppy Passenger: (loudly, so whole queue can hear) DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHO I AM?
The check-in attendant's response was made using the public address microphone so that the whole terminal hears it.
Check-In: May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please. We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14.
The queuing passengers are now laughing.
Stroppy Passenger: F*** You!
Check-In: I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that too."

Someone my husband knows posted this story on FB. I suspect that this is one of those stories that circulate the net and quite probably not true. However, it did make me think that half of my problems with narcs are because of not knowing how to manage them. One of my goals this year is to learn more about how to manage situations in more effective ways.

Monday, 11 February 2013

All Unhappy Families...

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

This is the opening line in the book Anna Karenina. One time when I was googling the quote I found a thread of someone who was asking about the meaning of the quote on yahoo answers. The reply he got was this:

"Happy families understand human nature, not in an abstract way, but in a practical way that allows the fulfilment of its members. Since happy families follow nature and are tuned with those natural needs they're all very much alike. Unhappy families march to the particular flaws of the individuals within it and therefore don't function according to nature or as a family. The unhappiness within each unhappy family is uniquely their own path."

I though this reply was pretty much spot on. However, I do see a common thread in "unhappy" (or dysfunctional) families. How else can I explain that I can relate so much to people who come from different backgrounds and have had a different family experience? How else can I explain that when I read certain books, or watch certain films, I feel like I have known the characters my whole life? That I deeply know and understand them.

Yesterday I watched "Rumble Fish". The first time I saw the film, in my late teens, I was completely drawn to this film in a way that I could not explain. After all, what did a Spanish girl from an average working family have in common with a guy (Rusty James) from Tulsa who was involved in gangs, and had an alcoholic father? But somehow at the time I felt like I knew this character and his brother so much. Watching the film yesterday I saw so much more than I did when I saw it the first time. I saw that the main character, Rusty James, is just desperate to be seen by his father and his brother. That he had been brought up being left entirely to his own devices and, while in his case this was very extreme, since the father is an alcoholic; I also, except for the basics, had  been brought up left to my own devices, with no one to give me guidance or direction of any kind. Brought up as if we were invisible, or at best, as a background prop to someone else's life. This disconnection seems to me to be the most common denominator in dysfunctional families.

There was another idea in the film that I also deeply related to. See what you think of this conversation between Rusty James and his father while they're discussing the older brother:

Father: Every now and then, a person comes along, has a different view of the world than does the usual person. It doesn't make them crazy. I mean... an acute perception, man... that doesn't, that doesn't make you crazy.
Rusty: Could you talk normal?
Father: However sometimes... it can drive you crazy, acute perception.
Rusty: I wish you'd talk normal 'cause I don't understand half the garbage you're saying. You know? You know what I mean?
Father: No, your mother... is not crazy. And neither, contrary to popular belief, is your brother crazy. He's merely miscast in a play. He was born in the wrong era, on the wrong side of the river... with the ability to be able to do anything that he wants to do and findin' nothin' that he wants to do. I mean nothing.

"A miscast in a play". That's how I feel in my FOO. As much as I see a lot of me in the struggles of Rusty James, I also see a lot of me in the character of the older brother. In the way he can see past the appearance of the things that surrounds him. 
This acute perception is that made us different from our FOO is also what could have driven us crazy. In my view, this "acute perception" is what causes depression. Depression as in being pressed down by a reality we are unable to change: the realisation that we've been born in the "wrong" family...
This film was based on a book of S.E. Hinton. I wondered what upbringing she'd had, to be able to describe these feelings so well. (You know that only one who has also been there could express them in that way.) And what do you know? There is not a lot of info on her upbringing, but I did find this:

" I still find it hard to comprehend how a girl could write
so insightfully about boys. Obviously girls have their own battles to go through, and they probably seem just as life-and-death, but the understanding she had of the boys’ world is still hard to comprehend.
Maybe it had something to do with her upbringing, which  apparently wasn’t easy. Ms. Hinton is still now a very private person, but she has described her mother as abusive: “when I was writing she’d come into my room, grab my hair and throw me in front of the TV, she’d say, ‘You’re part of this family – now act like it.’”
Whatever it was, she could identify with people who felt they didn’t fit in, and she was able to observe the young boys in her neighbourhood with their gangs, and family problems, and just the terrible struggles of growing up, and she was able to write about it as if she was one of them."
She was able to write as if she was one of them because she WAS one of them: another "motherless" child left to her own devices and being made to act as "part of a family" as a prop in the background. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Bore or a Narcissist?

There is a page on FB called "The Fat Englishman" that I really like. It's mainly about food but every now and then he'll post an interest quote. Today he posted this: 

to which he added the caption: 
"and such is the sort of person one should never dine with"
I thoroughly agree.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Healing Tools 1: Music and Poetry

After using numbness as shield to protect my feelings from deep pain for so long and now realising how hard it is to sit with your feelings and let yourself feel what you are actually feeling; of lately, I have been surprised to discover that there is a plus side to removing the shield: I get to feel the healing effects of beautiful words and music. Whereas before I would hear a song or a poem and I would think: "oh, that's beautiful" now I don't think it, I feel it. There is light at the end of this tunnel...
This is one of my favourite poems/songs at the moment. 

Us Against the World
Oh morning come bursting the clouds, Amen.
Lift off this blindfold, let me see again.
And bring back the water, let your ships roll in, in my heart, she left a hole.

The tightrope that I'm walking just sways and ties.
The devil, as he's talking, with those angel's eyes.
And I just wanna be there when the lightning strikes.
And the saints go marching in

And sing slow it down,
Through chaos as it swirls,
It's us against the world.

Like a river to a raindrop,
I lost a friend.
My drunken has a Daniel in a lion's den.
And tonight I know it all has to begin again,
So whatever you do,
Don't let go.

And if we could float away,
Fly up to the surface and just start again.
And lift off before trouble just erodes us in the rain
Just erodes us in the rain
Just erodes us and see roses in the rain

Sing slow it down
Slow it down

Through chaos as it swirls,
It's us against the world.
Through chaos as it swirls,
It's us against the world