February is all about The Happy.
We here at Band Back Together know that winter and the holidays can feel overwhelming, The Depression starts rearing its ugly head.
We're saying goodbye to depression and hello to Project Happy.
So, The Band, what makes you happy?
What brings a smile to your face? Is it a memory? The thought of the future? The brilliance of a sunset? We want to know!
This year for Valentine's Day we decided that there would be no presents. It's not like we could have afforded presents anyway; money is just non-existent these days or something.
What we decided to do instead of celebrate some manufactured holiday was to celebrate Mollie Day. See, our fur-baby came to live with us two years ago around Valentine's Day. We named her Mollie, and she is the best dog EVER.
So, we had a party to celebrate Mollie Day. We all ate steak, and we also all ate red velvet brownies. No, I did not feed the dog chocolate; she got the cream cheese frosting.
This, to me, is what life is about. Celebrating it with those we love, even when those we love are fur-babies.
Mollie Day is my Happy for this month in honor of the day Mollie, Sunshine, and I became a pack.
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site to vote and check out the other categories!
The candles were lit, the champagne was open and it was time for the Valentine's Day gifts. My beloved had actually gotten me three gifts, he said proudly.
The first was a poem he had written me. I ignored the gist of the poem, which referenced Pygmalion, and focused on the fact that he had written a poem about me.
The second gift was an (ugly, not that it mattered) wicker chest filled with cards. There was a card in there for each day from V-Day to our wedding day, he assured me. The first was an index card that said, "I love you." In fact, most would turn out to be index cards that said, "I love you." But that was fine, because it was so thoughtful and romantic.
The next gift started with my beloved unbuttoning his pants. I waited for the heart covered boxer shorts. Instead, I saw my favorite red lace thong. On my beloved. He'd been wearing it all day to feel closer to me.
Many years (well, I was all of 22, but it felt like many years) of wanting a romantic boyfriend on Valentine's Day had taken their toll on me. All those times in high school when I only got carnations from friends. All those dateless Valentine's Days.
I ignored the red flags in the poem, the unappealing chest and its index cards (of which I had to be excited about and save every single day for 7 months) and the fact that he wore my stuff without permission or discussion because it was ROMANTIC.
And this is why I hate Valentine's Day.
Not because my ex turned out to be an emotionally abusive narcissist who (it turns out) everyone I knew hated, but because it reminds me that I completely fell for style over substance.
That seems to be the whole point of Valentine's Day.
It's Christmas Day; I remember how I used to love watching my children's genuine delight in opening their gifts and stocking stuffers. I loved making the huge dinner, supervising and organizing the entire family. The meal would be spectacular and the children would play together without fighting, then..
My abusive mother would pick on my abusive husband.
Immediately, the atmosphere changed. Conversations became muted whispers and then, my drunk older brother would say something rude or outrageous and cap it off.
Now, my children are grown and have excellent educations. The narcissist I raised (as opposed to the one who raised me or the one I married), has a prestigious job in DC. She was more than a handful to raise.
I didn't know I'd been fighting narcissistic personality disorder my whole life. I just knew something was "off" within these three people; I fought them to within an inch of my brain with alcoholism/addiction, anxiety, fear, cajoling, religion, codependency, divorce, and finally, recovery.
Thank God for recovery and a plan. Gotta have a plan or I can't navigate my life. Other people have always given me the plan - I just waited for it and then reacted to each person the way I thought they wanted. That never seemed to work. Matter of fact, it seemed to complicate things; somehow making it worse. I always paid the price. Not to whine - I was punished without knowing that I was a victim.
The best way to ferret out a narcissist is they clearly identify the problem at hand. They don't know this is a compulsion and a major "tell" they can't seem to control. I learned early and hard that the people who think everybody else is lying is, in fact, the liar.
Or, the people who believe everyone cheats (at least some of the time), are in fact, CHEATERS. These people clearly identify themselves in personal or workplace relationships. Narcissists are rapacious and merciless; they will suck us dry; stepping over the dried husk of our souls onto their next chosen victim.
I've lived it, I married it, and I raised it, narcissism. I'm recovering in my narcissistic (with Munchausen Syndrome) psychopathic mother's home until I can get my shit together to "go back where I came from," she reminds me thousands of times each day.
So back to the title of this post: Christmas Day.
You'd think, given her preoccupation with convincing her fellow church members, doctors, sons, my children, various random people that cross her malignant path, that she is the Mother Teresa of this town, that Christmas would be a special time of year.
She took great delight in singing in her church's choir in an ecumenical service. She bragged about it all over the neighborhood while complaining loud and long that she's the only one who can read music; she has to "carry the tenor section."
While she's saying this, I'm thinking, "Shit, I wouldn't tell anyone that I'm "carrying the tenors." I'm female!"
I've finally figured out that my mother loves, LOVES, weird and perverted attention. That's her narcissistic supply. Her personal favorite is to be outrageously socially incorrect at the store.
In the family, she'll stand with her back toward your face and bend over at the waist. Most of the time, she's naked underneath her house dress, so you get an up close and personal view.
Outrageously sexually abusive.
When I was 14 or 15, she'd "drop" me into potentially sexually destructive situations. I was clueless and terrified why grown men were treating me like I was coming onto them. She was always close enough to see the action and NOT RESCUE me. I was so shocked; scared by the adult males behavior, it never occurred to me she didn't do a thing.
When I'd tell her later, she always laughed and said, "Oh that's just the way he is, don't let it bother you." I'm still bothered by it.
When I finally figured out what she was doing to me, it enraged and empowered me. She was punishing me for being slender and blond with blue-green eyes. At 15, I didn't know or understand the implications of a parent who deliberately placed her child in sexual danger to get her kicks. She enjoyed it. Every time I brought it up? She enjoyed it all over again.
Christmas is almost over.
I am estranged from my children, cut off from my friends - my five adult brothers don't talk to me.
I've never been happier. I've finally pinpointed the reason my life has been a sharp turn and it wasn't me. I've been a victim of my narcissistic mother. How could I know? There is no shame in not knowing, not understanding why my life was like that.
Today is the day we celebrate the gift God sent us in the form of a baby, The Christ, Jesus. I don't care what your religion is or even if you've got one.
This is the best Christmas I've had in a long time, because I found this website.
I thank God for you, The Band.
Holidays can be tough, especially if you are not able to be near family and friends.
No matter where you are today, we want you to know you are not alone. We are holding you in our hearts, and wishing wonderful things for you.