Sunday, 10 August 2014

Winter's Bone

             Last night I watched the film "Winter's Bone". Though it was painful and bleak, quite brutal even, I thought it was a very accurate allegory of the emotional life of ACoNs. I related so much to the 17 year old character "Ree", who has to look after her mentally ill mother and her two younger siblings, with her father gone and hardly any help from anyone around her. To her "having a family", even an extended family that in reality not only amounted to no family at all, but did damage to her as well. And isn't just that the emotional landscape that we ACoNs grow up with? With a mother who is not a mother, a father who is emotionally absent, and having to be the emotional "parent"to your siblings (and sometimes your parents as well) without any help, any guidance or any support. 

             What is so striking about the film is how all the adults in the film are not adults at all. Most of them are on drugs and unable to be "present" for her or to offer any assistance. All they can give is "scraps". She outshines them all in maturity, common sense and sensibleness. They have nothing to offer her (emotionally) because they are all in such a mess themselves and can't get out, let alone help her. You know how we all grew up hearing about how we should listen to "older ones" because of them having more experience on life? When I was in my late twenties/early thirties I felt that there was no one to go to for answers because they "older" ones seemed to be in a bigger mess (emotionally speaking) that I was, and how could they help me? One of them even said to me: "You're working things out in your thirties that we're only now working out (in our sixties)". When she said that, I thought: "What hope is there for me then, if the ones that are suppose to show me the way, haven't got a clue themselves?"

The adults being on drugs represented to me how all the adults in my FOO (including my extended FOO) were "hooked" on Narcissistic Supply. TR has a brilliant post about how NS is a form of drug addiction (see ) The kids (I'm including cousins here) don't get a look in because all the attention is going in the direction of the adults. Because of this, the cousins don't develop close connections among themselves either. 

Though the film is very raw and certainly not for the faint hearted, I found Ree's character inspiring: her tenacity and determination to push past all the obstacles she faces, and on her own strength; her self-respect in how she refuses to lower herself to their level; her dignity in how she says to her little brother: “Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered.”  

I don't know if the film depiction of the people who live in the Ozarks was accurate or not, but as a depiction of the struggles of a teenager to survive among adults who don't know what they're doing, is spot on. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Dark Humour

On Monday eve I learned of a new "batch" of accusations coming from BiL. When I looked at these accusations closely (without JADEing) I realised that -unwittingly- he had given away that when it comes to a particular feud we've been having over the last 4 years, it is Game Over, and he has lost. 

On Tuesday morning, I was telling a friend about the situation and after I put the phone down, a phrase "popped" in my head: "I will dance Flamenco upon your grave". This phrase came out of nowhere. I was puzzled by it, but I faintly remembered this "I will dance upon your grave" being a song. So I googled it, and sure enough, there it was: on good old faithful You Tube. When I saw it, it all came back to me. This was a song from a Spanish Ska Punk band from the 80s that some of my friends were into. When I listened to the lyrics, I thought: "What do you know, it turns out that my brain does dark humour and I didn't even know it". Because the words of the song are very dark indeed, even if the music is peppy. When this song came out I would have been around 15/16 years old and the meaning of it would have been way over my head. You listened to songs and sung them out loud without giving hardly any thought to whatever it meant, or why it was written. However it looks like the person who uploaded the song to You Tube got what it was about, because he put the following dedication with it:

"With love and from the heart to all those who try (UNSUCCESSFULLY) to make our everyday life misery... ;) " 

He obviously has dark humour too ;). Fascinating how the brain works, for to bring up a song that I had not listened to for more than twenty years and that was not even from one of the bands that I liked, it's amazing.

As I went to bed, something about this song kept bugging me, because though being written in a tongue-and-cheek way, it is pretty awful. The lyrics go something like (it doesn't make a lot sense in English, but bear in mind that in the original song all the endings rhyme) :

"I will kill you with my tap dance shoes,
I will choke you with my ballet dress,
I will hung you with my dinner jacket, 
and you will die while the DJ laughs, 
and I will dance upon your grave.

I will slaughter you with a sharp vinyl record,
A Rolling Stones one or maybe the Shadows',
You will choke with a collection of cassette tapes, 
the Shangril-las one or the Ronettes, 
and I will dance upon your grave".

It bothered me because I don't really feel that way about my BiL. As I was falling asleep, I had a lightbulb moment: my feelings about the song aren't about how I feel about BiL and my sister, it's about my "killing" their "power" to upset me. AH! That made so much more sense, and if you re-read the song, as if it was talking about killing the power/control/influence someone has or had over you, it sounds completely different.

So yes, their "power" to disturb my peace is dead, and I WILL dance upon its grave. :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Is Not About The Nail

Sometime last year, DH sent me a video called: "It's not about the nail" which shows a woman complaining to her husband that all her sweaters are getting ruined when she puts them on. The husband can see that she has a nail on her forehead and that is the cause of her problem, but he's not "allowed" to tell her because he's meant (I guess) to be sitting there listening empathetically rather than offering solutions. (I can't say that I relate much to that way of thinking because I am the sort of person that if I am talking about a problem I want SOLUTIONS. I don't want the: "Oh dear, there..there..." -which by the way, my MiL used to do whenever I shared a problem with her and always left me frustrated. I don't share my quandaries with her anymore.

Anyway, the other day I was thinking about the way Ns throw flimsy accusations at you as if you had committed the worse crime in the history of mankind (i.e. "mom gave you a package for me and you didn't deliver for six months!!!!"), and you stand there perplexed, wondering why even when you explain that "it wasn't six months, it was a month and I couldn't deliver it earlier because all the roads being snowed under", it does nothing to abate their anger. And that's when I had the lightbulb moment that when it comes to Ns: it's never about the nail. Or, in other words, it's never about what they say it is, because if it was, it would be resolved the second you explain it to them, like it does with normal people. See, in reality, they're not bringing up the accusation to get an explanation, they're just looking for stuff to "throw" at you, so they can "make" you look like the bad guy while making themselves look like the "victim". 

One of the most classic examples of this is the well-known story of Satan accusing Job of only serving God for what he got out of it. After it gets proved beyond any doubt that Job was serving God genuinely, there is absolutely no acknowledgement on Satan's part that he was wrong about Job. And isn't this exactly the same that Ns do, when they're confronted unequivocally with their accusation being wrong/mistaken or inaccurate? There is never ANY acknowledgement on their part that they were wrong. 

So next time we're thrown a wild accusation by a Narc, let's remember that is not about the accusation, and let's focus on how to protect ourselves and get out of their presence as quickly as possible.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Parade's End

Ever since I learned about Narcissism, I have really struggled to see the difference between selfish and narcissistic. Maybe it's because all the selfish people in my every day life are also narcissistic. However, last week I watched the period drama "Parade's End" and I understood. In the story, there is a character, Sylvia Tietjens, who is selfish, manipulative and cruel, but as far as I could see, a narcissist she is not. There is something brutally honest about the way she doesn't even try to pretend she is anything she's not, and as awful as she is, at least, she's not deceiving herself. I can see that there is hope that someone like that would change, (not that they necessarily would - and indeed, in the story she does not) but a person who does not even admit that they're living for an "image" of themselves that doesn't exist, how can they possibly change?